Opposition members seek amendments to rules. Explanation should be held before voting. Extension of Martial Law being discussed.

Opposition argues.download

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The Filipino masses still get nightmares when they remember the travails of the previous Martial Law during the Marcos regime. As such, it is not surprising that they have a natural mistrust for Martial Law and all it entails.
Moreover, we cannot blame the opposition lawmakers for finding fault with everything that Duterte does. Besides being their job, they hold a permanent grudge against the ruling establishment.
Consequently, they direct all their energies at negating all his initiatives, good or bad. Therefore, it was not a surprise that a number of opposition lawmakers on Saturday questioned the proposed rules.
This happened during the voting in the Congress special joint session on the extension of martial law. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman moved the motion proposing amendment of the proposed rules.
That became necessary since Lagman stated that he did not receive a copy of the ten-page proposed rules. Therefore, a break of 10 minutes delayed the joint session. Lagman also demanded a 3-minute explanation.
Lagman likened the procedure of voting to a postmortem explanation. This was because the results would be announced first, followed by the explanation.
He argued that it was only during the voting on the third reading of a bill that this procedure was adopted. Moreover, he contended that allowing the explanation while the voting was underway. This practice followed for Martial Law, needs to be extended to other issues as well.
Concurring with Lagman in his contention was Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza. His take was that an explanation after voting loses its relevance. They criticized the procedure since it had to be reported to the whole country.
The procedural defect in the rules needs a fresh corrective look, he contended.
However, House Majority Floor Leader Rudy Fariñas did not agree with this contention. He argued that the procedure was as laid down by the lawmakers of earlier administrations.
Hence, we cannot change the rules on this one occasion since it was established procedure.
A motion to change the rules moved by opposition members could not go through.
An attempt at interpellation for 5 minutes by Senate Minority Floor leader Franklin Drilon produced an argument. Senators proposed varying durations for the interpellation.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel suggested four minutes extension instead of five so that it would be equally divisible to other senators.
This house finally agreed to this suggestion and got the approval of the house.
Both the chambers of the 17th Congress are currently convening for the extension of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
14 senators and 242 solons attended the joint session.

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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson.
Friday, July 21, 2017