Congress Resumes Session Today; Budget, Anti-Terrorism, Political Party Bills Top in Agenda; House Tackles Political Party Act of 2006

Manila Bulletin, January 22, 2007 | Go to article overview

Congress Resumes Session Today; Budget, Anti-Terrorism, Political Party Bills Top in Agenda; House Tackles Political Party Act of 2006


Byline: BEN R. ROSARIO

A light legislative workload at the resumption of Congress sessions today awaits congressmen who will be playing waiting games for Senate action on bills that have already passed the House of Representatives.

Majority Leader Prospero Nograles said ratification of a bicameral committee report on the proposed P1.126 trillion national budget for 2007 and the anti-terrorism bill could be the only major legislative work requiring Lower House action.

However, Speaker Jose de Venecia last week vowed that the chamber will fast-track the passage of the long-delayed Political Party Act of 2006 which seeks government funding for political parties to reduce influence of narcotics and money politics.

The measure also bans turncoatism or the practice of changing political parties among politicians.

Nevertheless both De Venecia and Nograles agree that the Lower House will close the pre-election sessions next week with the assurance that its legislative accomplishments for the 13th Congress would surpass previous achievements chalked by the chamber.

Deputy Majority Leader Arthur Defensor said the House leadership would still push for the passage of local bills that are vital for countryside development.

"We should still act on local measures especially those that would pave the way for the countryside to easily feel and savor the economic progress government has achieved for this country," Defensor said.

Nograles said the Lower House has been prodding the bicameral conference panels to swiftly act on a number of bills that have emanated from them. Among these are the proposed utilization of the recovered Marcos wealth, the tax amnesty measure and the bill relaxing housing loan payments and providing for condonation.

"All important certified bills are all in the Senate, nothing pending in the House," Nograles said.

De Venecia said the government will be operating under a re-enacted budget for the first quarter of 2007 but the appropriations measure should be expected to be implemented for the next three quarters.

The House leader also disclosed that he had asked both the House majority and minority blocs to give the Political Party Act of 2006 the "highest political priority" when session resumes today.

Meanwhile, congressmen belonging to the so-called Northern Alliance said they would push for the adoption of a resolution demanding the immediate solution to the murder of Abra Rep. Luis Bersamin and other political killings in the province.

"We want our law enforcement agencies to get the strong message that we will not allow Bersamin's killers and masterminds roaming freely in our streets and even join the May elections," said Pangasinan Rep. …

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