Congressional Leaders agreed to prioritze 35 bills in the 2nd regular session of the 17th Congress, but the proposal to reimpose the death penalty is not among them.
This after the leaders met in a breakfast meeting at EDSA Shangrila Plaza.
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas says they divided their time table according to the weeks of sessions of Congress. “Napagkasunduan o namin ay 35 na bagay na ipapasa namin, hinati hati namin yung secnd regular session into four quarters: ang unang quarter is from Monday until we adjourn in October; then npvember to December, third quarter is jnaury to march, and of course 4th quarter is may until june.”
Farinas points many of these bills have already hurdled in the House but remain pending in the Senate. The Free Irrigation Act is already pending at the Office of the President.
The following are the priorities which are pending in either House.
Agrarian and Agricultural Credit Condonation Act, Enhance Universal Healthcare act, Philippine Mental health Act, prohibiting the converting of irrigated lands, national land use act, occupational safety and health standards act, community service in lieu of imprisonment for the penalty of arresto menor, the tax reform act, the revision of the Constitution, the bangsamoro basic law, the public service act amendment, the traffic and congestion crisis act, the national ID system, the legislative franchise for railways, the Endo Act, free school feeding, estate tax reform act, the coconut farmers and industry development act, the ease of doing business act, the owe town onedoctor act, the corporation code of the Philippine, social security act amendments, expanded coverage of local absentee voting act, family code amendments on default property regime, Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, the anti discrimination act, the government procurement reform act amendments, allowable/recoverable system loss act, the salary standardization law 4, unified uniformed personnal benefits and pension reform act, criminal invetsigation act, amendment of fair election act, anti-hazing law amendments, the anti terrorism law amendments, rice tarrification, and the department of disaster response.
Farinas said, “Itong community sevice in lieu of imprisonment for arresto menor tapos na kami sa house na transmit na sa senate, pending sa justice committee, we agreed na gagawin na lang namin not based on the revised penal code but just to provide a number of days, halimbawa sa RPC one day to 30 days, gagawin na lang namin siguro na 6 days para maging yung mga special laws covered ditto. “
with regards to amendments to the 1987 Constitution, Both Leaderships agreed to create a technical working group to draft proposed amendments to the constitution. they will no longer wait for the President to appointment members to a constitutional commission that will study and propose amendments to the constituent assembly.
“ we will prioritize, ang napagusapan namin if we cannot wait for the commission to be created by the president, both hpuses will create a etchnical working grp, siguro tig anim or tig-12, sila na ang magiiggng twg of both houses to present proposed amendments or revisions to the act, “
Farinas added, “hindi na gagalaw na kami ang amendment and revision to the constitution actually are functions of congress naman, hinihintay sana namin ang president pero this is purely a legislative function naman”
Farinas however explained that this is separate from possible amendments that maybe pursued to accomodate the proposed Bangsamoro basic law. “although we agreed that in twrms of the BBL which might require constitutional amendments kasi nga kugn yung gusto ng mga kapatid nating muslim hinid namna pwedeng ipasok under the present constitution, we will identify which constitutional provisions will be affected by this para yun na ang unahin namin na iamend muna, hindi na revision, iko-con ass namin by way of amendment para yun ay pwede nang ipresent for ratification in a plebiscite to the people, siguro kasabay na nung barangay elections law na ipo-postpone”
As for the emergency powers to curb traffic, the leaderships agreed to pass a law to clear the roads.”Not necessarily emergency powers, ang napagkasunduan namin unang una dyan is to clear the roads, irerepeal na lath ng ordinances na naglakagay ng parkingan sa kalye, we thought we shld clear all our streets para ma-decobgest.”
Farinas says the Uniformed personnel benefits and pension act, maybe contentious as it seeks to transfer the pension of the AFP to the GSIS. “Pinaguusapan na san yung ension ng afp ilagay na lang sa gsis, kasi now nasa GAA yan, nababaloon ang money dahil dito, kelangan na iphasing nay an para malipat sa gsis”
Farinas added that he postponement of the 2017 barangay elections was not discussed as a priority due to disagreements from senate minority leader franklin drilon. “ both agreed, hindi ito legislative agenda kasi hindi pabor si frank drilon, on part of hosue okay kasi postpone, no holdover, dun nagkakatalo kasi eh, kasi kung no holdever the president will appoint. We have to do this very fast kasi elections is in october.”
Farinas says many congressmen favor the postponement so this is upto the Senate. “Majority approved to postpone and apprnt (sa house). Sa seante dun nagkakatalo, so they are going to look and feel kung saan magkakasundo”
Farinas says that with just 33 session days till their next recess in October, the House will have to pass about one bill a day. “Tinitingnan namin ito parang one bill a day kami kasi we have 33 session days befpre we break inoctober kaya dapat lumakd na siguro kami para maktrabaho kami All 35 in third and final reading, yun ang commitment”
Farinas says this meeting of the congressional leaders is separate from the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council, which includes the President. The LEDAC is mandated by the law to meet quarterly. “May ledac pa, kasi si rpes baka meron din syang iaidentify, we will have ledac…pag nakit ang malacnanag marami rin ditto na galing din sa malacnanag”
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, who attended the meeting, explained this is to minimize gridlocks. “it is a Commitete of 4 from the Senate and 4 from the House we agree to disagree
there were some urgent bills on the part of the senate and some urgent bills on the part of the House mapupuna mo doon sa amin tapos na tayo sa senado wala pang nagfafile sa senate thats the prupose of the LEDAC between the House and the Senate na maprioritze yung bills na sinasabi ng Congress na dapat bigyan ng pansin. isipin mo tulad nitong compregensive tax reform poaspasan dito sa kongreso death penalty paspasan tayo dito pero natutulog sa senado.”
The death penalty reimposition proposal has been approved by the House but is not moving in the Senate.
Suarez explained there were some bills where the leaderships failed to achieve a consensus. “meron kami mga sinideline pero naiusap ang both leaders na wag muna itake up sa media habang di kami nagkakaayos.”
Suarez believes the bills may face some resistance at the Senate. “noong mag eend kami sabi ko naparami nitong1 st quarter mo. alam mo dito sa amins a House kaya namin ipasa yan kayo sa senado kaya niyo?”