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MANILA, Philippines – In the face of yet another “attack,” members of the House of Representatives banded together to show “unwavering solidarity and support” for Speaker Martin Romualdez and the chamber.
House Resolution 1562, which also upholds the institution’s integrity, was filed and adopted on Monday, February 5. While it has garnered 286 signatories as of writing, lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc abstained from voting, pointing out that the country has more pressing matters to deal with than charter change.
The resolution comes after what congressmen viewed as an “intense assault” from their counterparts in the Senate amid discussions of the people’s initiative for charter amendments.
“The confrontational tactics used by the Senate are detrimental to the spirit of cooperative governance and the public’s confidence in [the] parliamentary process,” House Resolution 1562 read.
The public petition has been marred by allegations of bribery and even misuse of public funds, with the upper chamber pointing fingers at members of the House of Representatives – even the House Speaker himself – as being the orchestrators.
The House of Representatives adopts HR1562, expressing "unwavering solidarity and support" for House Speaker Martin Romualdez, and upholds the House of Representatives' "integrity and honor," on Monday, February 5. pic.twitter.com/5mBYWSFV8W— Kaycee Valmonte (@kayceevalmonte) February 5, 2024
“The unfounded allegations hounded by some members of the Senate of some issues surrounding the people’s initiative are [a] direct violation of interparliamentary courtesy and undermine the independence and integrity of the House of Representatives,” said House Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, who also represents the 3rd District of Pampanga.
The resolution also took note of last week’s Senate probe into the people’s initiative, seeing it as a move “specifically directed at discrediting” both the institution and its leadership. Romualdez and his cousin Senator Imee Marcos got into an indirect verbal spat last week, following the probe after Marcos indirectly responded to Romualdez’s calling out senators’ criticisms of the people’s initiative.
During the Senate investigation, the chief of the People’s Initiative for Reform Modernization and Action (PIRMA) named Romualdez as the person who “helped” the Ramos-era charter change group in the signature drive. PIRMA told senators that they were able to get the required 3% in congressional districts with the help of congressmen.
Romualdez, while admitting to having met with and hosting PIRMA representatives at his townhouse, said the meeting was done in the spirit of open dialogue and trying to understand the initiative itself.
TGP Partylist representative Jose “Bong” Teves Jr., who also sits as deputy majority leader, reminded senators on Monday that lawmakers from both houses of Congress are equals. But in the same breath, he also reminded senators that it is congressmen who help them win a seat in the upper chamber.
“Gusto ko din po paalalahanan ang ating mga kaibigang senador na kayo ay lumalapit din sa mga district at partylist congressmen para humingi ng tulong tuwing kayo ay tumatakbo bilang senador,” Teves said in his manifesto.
(I also just want to remind our senator friends that they also reach out to district and partylist congressmen to ask for help whenever they run for senator.)
The squabble between both houses of Congress started when senators released a manifesto to the public rejecting the House of Representatives’ push for charter change. It is always the lower chamber that is more enthusiastic about amending the Constitution, with hundreds of proposals for charter change filed through the years.
Despite being against the fresh push, the Senate has already conducted the first hearing for Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 that proposes to further open up some sectors of the country’s economy to foreign investors. – Rappler.com