House Leaders push back on criticisms over Congress passage of just 4 law on its first regular session alone, pointing out that the gridlock is in the Senate.
the first regular session ended May 31 with just the bills on the 2017 national budget, the postponement of the 2016 baranggay and sangguniang kabataan elections and 2 franchises signed into law by President Duterte.
House Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia and other leaders told a press conference that the House of representatives passed 210 measures—including the 4 laws—-but the rest are stuck at the Senate.
Garcia said, “For the record we cannot second guess the senate we cannot even cast judgment on the goings on of the senate…because they also have their own priorities for the record of 210 bills approved in the 1st regular session 180 are now in the senate 137 have been referred to the appropriate committee 22 has already been takn up in plenary 21 are pending first reading”
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Carlo Cua said, “parang may mismatch ang data na binabato sa akin we have no authority over the other chamber.”
House Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro said, “we cannot say that the senate is not acting on it what we can only the senate is its pending in the senate for wahetever reason it maybe its for the senate to tell us why they are pending in the senate and they have not ven acted upon.”
House reporters grilled leaders over the 4 laws the 17th Congress passed in its first year which is just half of the 8 laws passed by the 15th and 16th Congresses on their own first regular sessions.
Garcia said, “eto lang siguro ang dapat natin maintidihan na di lang naman HoR ang nageenact ng law may senate din kainakialngan magkakabicam kung may mga amebndments or even will the senate take up what the HoR has passed kaya we really cannot put a direct comparison because again balik tayo changing times changing realities changing needs changing compositions but may i just point out 97 session days tayo eh. in those 97 sessions there was always a quorum oftentimes exceeding 200 further more fi we will factor in the calendar of business of those consolidated or susbtituted as well as referred resolutions…the House porcessed 1247 measures during the total 97 session days that would give you an average output of 13 methods processed a day.”
Garcia stressed that the debate on the contentious death penalty bill had nothing to do with the record. “when you ask whether the Dp focus had taken us away from addressing other meaures id say no in fact wed say that the passage of the DP bill was another significant and major stride of the HoR.”
Castro added there are other factors to consider when judging the work of the House, “yung output ng legislation in the 17th congress should not only be gauged on the basis of numbers of laws approved and became into law but you should also consider those that are pending in the senate you should also consider those that are pending signature with the rpesident and those that are pending for bicameral conference between the senate and the HoR you should also have to cosnider intervening events because these intervening events influenced the schedule or time line of Congress…like for example itong martial law discussion ..has for sure affected the timeline of the senate and the HoR”
Castro also said, “you cannot gauge or rate of the performance of the HoR or the output of the HoR simply on the basis of the numbers of legsilative measures passed pending…you should approach it wholistically including intervening events”