House sudden decision to suspend session until November will delay actions on other bills pending in Senate – Sotto

Published October 6, 2020, 9:47 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The House of Representatives’ sudden decision to suspend their session until next month will also delay actions on other bills that are pending in Senate, including the construction of the new Manila International Airport, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Tuesday.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sotto cited this as another effect of the Lower Chamber’s move to go on a month-long break ahead of the scheduled suspension of Congress on October 14. Before this, he had raised the possible delay in the passage of the proposed 2021 budget due to their counterpart’s move.

“All other pending legislation with us will be frozen,” Sotto said in a text message to the Manila Bulletin as he slammed the House’s abrupt suspension of session.

Among others, Sotto said senators were hoping to ratify before the recess the House bill on the franchise application of San Miguel Aerocity Inc. for the construction of the new Manila International Airport in Bulacan.

The Senate approved the bill on second reading late Monday night in a bid to have it passed on final reading on Thursday, allot their remaining session days for bicameral meetings and the ratification of the franchise.

Senators have been supportive of the airport project, which San Miguel committed to build at no cost to the government, for its economic benefits to the country.

Sotto also explained during the session that they are prioritizing the franchise as this has long been a plan of his partymate and late San Miguel Corporation top boss, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.

Amid his feud with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco over their term-sharing agreement, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday moved to terminate their debates and immediately approve on second reading the bill containing the P4.506-trillion proposed 2021 budget. 

He suggested that the amendments be taken up and included in the bill on November.

After their second reading approval, congressmen quickly suspended their session. The House leadership did not provide a reason for this decision.