MANILA, Philippines — Despite multiple impeachment and other hearings, the House of Representatives has continued to churn out bills but the proposed laws have remained unacted on by the Senate, which Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez dubbed the “mabagal na kapulungan (slow chamber).”
“Masisipag ang mga congressman ngayon (The congressmen these days are hardworking),” Alvarez said in a radio interview. “Ang problema namin, ang dami na naming naibigay sa mabagal na kapulungan na hanggang ngayon wala pa rin (Our problem is we have transmitted to the slow chamber that have yet to be acted on till now).”
At the end of the first regular session in July, Alvarez said the House had forwarded 110 bills approved on third and final reading, with 70 more transmitted from July to October.
“I don’t have the list now, but we will publish it,” he said.
Congress went on break on October 11 and will resume session on November 13. It will adjourn anew on December 16, 2017 to January 14, 2018.
Among the key measures that the House approved on third and final reading and forwarded to the Senate are the restoration of the death penalty and the proposed 2018 budget. A number of senators are against bringing back capital punishment.
The House is also hearing the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and, on Wednesday, impeached Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista.
An impeachment complaint is also poised against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
Since July 25 this year, the House has been implementing a new rule, locking all doors to the session hall and opening these only after the rollcall.
The new rule was “in line with our efforts to facilitate our plenary deliberations and daily roll call,” according to a memorandum issued by Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.
“Except those who are deemed present under Section 71 of our Rules, all members are enjoined to be at the session hall before 4 p.m., as those appearing after the roll call shall be marked absent.”
Earlier, Fariñas said the new rule was meant to encourage his colleagues to report to the session hall on time, so that they could be more productive in transacting business.
The session is supposed to begin at 4 p.m., but the roll is usually called an hour later to ensure there are enough members in the hall.