Day 2 of BBL interpellations at the House suspended anew due to lack of quorum

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QUEZON CITY (MindaNews/03 June) – Day 2 of the interpellations on the Committee- approved Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was suspended anew due to lack of quorum as majority of the 191 representatives “present” during the roll call at 5:18 p.m. left the session hall soon after, leaving only around 60 representatives two hours later.

Only one representative, Pryde Henry Teves of the 3rd district of Negros Oriental, was able to finish interpellation, while Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat asked for a minute’s suspension that later ended with a suspension until 4 p.m. Thursday when Buhay party-list and former Manila mayor Rep. Lito Atienza, on the third day, rose to question the quorum.

Negros Oriental 3rd district representative Pryde Henry Teves  during an interpellation of HB 5811 on June 3, 2015 at the House of Representatives. MindaNews photo by Toto Lozano
Negros Oriental 3rd district representative Pryde Henry Teves interpellates HB 5811 on June 3, 2015 at the House of Representatives. MindaNews photo by Toto Lozano

The House has 290 members and 146 representatives constitute a quorum.

“Mr. Speaker, we don’t have a quorum anymore,” Atienza said at 7:24 p.m. Wednesday but before he could finish his motion, the presiding officer cut him off by suspending the session.

On Tuesday night, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (AHCBBL) admitted the issue of quorum is affecting their target to approve the bill on or before June 11, before Congress adjourns sine die.

Rodriguez said 33 had representatives had signed up to interpellate but on Tuesday, only two representatives were able to do so: Minority leader, Rep. Ronaldo Zamora of San Juan City and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya.

Buhay partylist and former Manila City mayor Lito Atienza questions the quorum on Wednesday's hearing on HB 5811 at the House of Representatives. MindaNews photo by Toto Lozano
Buhay partylist and former Manila City mayor Lito Atienza questions the quorum on Wednesday’s hearing on HB 5811 at the House of Representatives. MindaNews photo by Toto Lozano

As of Wednesday night, only three representatives have finished their interpellation – Zamora, Anday and Teves.

The Ad Hoc Committee approved its substitute bill on May 20 by a vote of 50 in favor, 17 against and one abstention. Rodriguez and his vice chairs delivered their sponsorship speeches for substitute bill, HB 5811 or the Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonmous Region, on Monday.

At the Senate, Senatr Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, delivered a privilege speech Wednesday after his committee hearing with governors and mayors, saying he would not allow his committee to be rushed.

“Hindi po tayo padadala sa emosyon at sa pulitika. Hindi ako makapapayag na ma-railroad ang BBL sa aking Komite. It is complex enough as it is. Why rush it?” Marcos said.

“I will not be rushed. I will see to it that any peace agreement we fashion with the MILF will be inclusive. It should protect the integrity of our country. I will make sure that Mindanao or any part of our Republic will not secede from us. I will stand my ground so that our country is not dismembered. I will do whatever it takes to help achieve an enduring and equitable peace in Mindanao,” Marcos said.

He said he cannot support the draft BBL in its present form and substance, and is preparing a substitute bill “na makakabuti sa lahat” (will be good for all). (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)Qy

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