Passage of P405-B 'Bayanihan 3' prioritized as regular Congress session resumes

Published May 16, 2021, 1:43 PM

by Ben Rosario

Plenary action on the proposed P405.6 billion Bayanihan to Arise as One Act or the Bayanihan 3 has been given the highest priority preference in the House of Representatives as regular plenary sessions start Monday, May 17.

Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez said referral of the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen will happen within three session days.

However, it is not immediately known whether or not such referral will take place in the next three days of session or in three ‘regular’ session days.

It will be recalled that Speaker Lord Allan Velasco forwarded the complaint to Romualdez only last March 25 although it was filed by journalist Edwin Cordevilla on December 7 or after the lapse of over 20 session days.

Under the impeachment rules, Velasco was tasked to refer the complaint to the justice committee within ten “regular” session days.

For reasons that the House leadership has failed to explain, most session days between December 7 to March 25 were not consisdered “regular”, thus, allowing the delayed referral of the complaint.

“Last March 25, Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco transmitted the impeachment complaint filed by Mr. Edwin M. Cordevilla and endorsed by Ilocos Sur 2nd District Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba to our committee. We will act on it and include it in the order of business,” Romualdez a lawyer from the University of the Philippines (UP) and president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said.

Cordevilla has sought Leonen’s removal from the SC for allegedly failing to resolve on time numerous cases assigned him.

Romualdez said the Lower House will prioritize the passage of the P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3 upon the resumption of its three-week session on Monday before the Congress’ “We need Bayanihan 3 to help ensure that the economy recovers quickly from the coronavirus disease-19-induced crisis in a strong, sustainable, and resilient manner,” Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), stressed.

“We only have three weeks to pass this vital measure that will help our fellow Filipinos who are all affected by the pandemic, and we are confident that before we adjourn, we will be able to pass the measure,” said Romualdez.

“The House Committees on Social Services, Economic Affairs, and Ways and Means have approved the Bayanihan to Arise As One Act or Bayanihan 3 but it still has to go through the Committee on Appropriations,” Romualdez explained.

Romualdez also said that the House of Representatives will continue deliberating Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) Number 2 to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, said he hopes that lawmakers will vote for the passage of RBH No. 2 on third and final reading before adjourning sine die.

“We still have seven interpellators. Hopefully before sine die adjournment, we will be able to vote on the measure on third reading,” Garbin, a lawyer, said.

Romualdez also reported that the Chamber’s productive sessions resulted in the passage of 39 national laws.

“We are proud of the accomplishment of this Chamber, our hard-working representatives, and secretariat. During the First and Second Regular Sessions of the 18th Congress or from July 22, 2019, to May 11, 2021, a total of 11,107 measures were filed, and 9,302 of which were House bills,” Romualdez said. “All in all, we processed 3,316 measures during our 80 session days or an average of 41 measures per session day.”