Advocacies
Constitutional Reforms  

 

"On Joint Session"


Q: Sir, ano po 'yung Rules of Procedure po natin?

SP: Alam mo, nagpulong kahapon ang panel ng Senado at House of Representatives para pag-usapan 'yung Rules. Meron kaming ginawang Rules, iprinisenta namin sa kanila. Ngayon, gusto nilang baguhin at humingi sila ng panahon upang pag-aralan nila 'yung Rules. Mamaya tanungin ninyo si Majority Floor Leader Migs Zubiri sa detalye niyan at pag-uusapan pa kung kailan nila gustong magkaroon ng joint session dahil pinag-uusapan ata nila sa House. 'Yung detalye ng napag-usapan nila, hindi ko masyadong kabisado. Tila yata dahil nga naman kung bawat isa sa amin ay mabigyan ng three minutes lang para magsalita ay napakahaba sabi nila. Ngayon, lalo na kung magkakaroon ng debate five minutes each to interpellate. Siguro ay hindi kami matatapos ng 60 days kaya tila yata ang gusto nilang mangyari ay bigyan kami ng 10 hours sa Senado to state our position and 10 hours din sa kanila at bahala na sila to allocate that time among their members at ganoon din sa Senado. Sa aking paningin, payag na ako doon kung ganoon at saka mayroon pang ibang detalye pa na gusto nilang pag-usapan so ginagawa nila ngayon 'yon. Pina-polish nila 'yung Rules sa House.

Q: Sir, 'yung voting po, paano po 'yon?

SP: Yung voting ang gusto nila sa lahat ng issue ay joint voting. Ang sa amin naman, ang dapat na joint voting lamang ay kung magkaroon ng motion to revoke or to shorten the period of martial law instead of 60 days, shorten it to a lesser number of days. Pero 'yun ay pinag-aaralan pa ngayon. Sa Saligang Batas, ang sinasabi ay joint voting to revoke lang. Hindi naman pwedeng joint voting sa lahat ng issues. Kaya ngayon 'yan ang point of contention pero palagay ko maaayos namin 'yang problemang 'yan. We will exercise a reasonable attitude in resolving many of these issues basta we safeguard the national interest --- the interest of the people.

Q: Sir, valid ba 'yung hesitance ni Speaker Nograles not to call the joint session?

SP: Well, 'yun ang position nila tutal ang overwhelming position daw ng House ay more or less not to favor the revocation. So, ang problema ko diyan ay paano natin malalaman 'yung overwhelming member unless we hold a session at 'yang numero na 'yan ay recorded in the Record of Proceedings of the joint session at sa Journal. Sapagkat kailang ilagay natin sa journal 'yang sesyon para magkaroon ng record. Kaya ngayon 'yang ang ite-thresh out.

Q: Sir, hindi ba the Constitution mandates that the Congress convene?

SP: It is the mandatory requirement of the Constitution that we must convene. Sinasabi nga na if we are not in regular or special session, within 24 hours we have to convene. Meaning, the intention of the framers of the Constitution is for Congress to convene to look into the report of the President. In fact, how can she report to us if we have not convened? Now, we are convened but we have to meet jointly to consider the report.

Q: So they cannot go around that?

SP: I don't think so. How can we do a joint voting unless we meet together?

Q: So sir, kahit mag-pass sila ng resolution?

SP: Voting jointly, 'yun ang sinabi sa Saligang Batas. Hindi naman kami gumawa noon at hindi din sila gumawa noon. Ang gumawa noon ay 'yung framers ng Constitution.

Q: Does the same argument apply sa issue ng Charter Change? 'Yung voting jointly?

SP: Iba 'yung wording sa provision ng Charter Change. Congress by votes of two-thirds of all the members. It does not say na to jointly vote. Sa provision ng martial law, ang sinabi ay voting jointly.

Q: So sir, kahit mag-pass ang Congress ng resolution supporting the declaration, kailangan pa rin ba kayo mag-joint session?

SP: Ako personal ko ito. I don't know about my colleagues. If they pass a resolution, signed by a majority of the number of the members of the House of Representatives, plus the 23 senators, I don't know the exact number now of the members of the House, I think 236 ata plus 23. A majority of that from the House, they can get a resolution signed by the required majority, contemplated by the Constitution, I think that is a substantial compliance. There might be no need for a joint session. What's the point of having a joint session kung meron na 'yun? Ang problema lang dun, we have to record that in the journal. How do we record that in the Journal? Every session day of the House and the Senate, including the joint session must be recorded in the Journal. And there must be a record of the proceedings.

Q: But do you still prefer to convene?

SP: Of course, because our position is that we are required as matter of duty to convene into a joint session.

Q: So, a resolution will do?

SP: Para sa akin, kung meron nun, depende. I cannot bind the members of the Senate. That's my personal view. I'll have to take it up with them.