House Speaker to dialogue with anti-RH camp this week-A A +A
Monday, August 20, 2012
HOUSE Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is set to hold an informal dialogue with lawmakers opposed to the reproductive health (RH) bill to address delay in the deliberation of the controversial measure.
Belmonte scheduled the dialogue this week after several anti-RH legislators "deliberately" delayed discussions on the highly divisive bill by delivering long privilege speeches.
"I'll be conducting a private dialogue with my colleagues who are against the passage of the RH measure for us to set ground rules," he said.
While some RH proponents tried to block the privilege speeches of their colleagues, the presiding speaker then, Deputy Speaker Jesus Crispin Remulla, allowed the delivery of such pointing out that no House rule was being violated.
"For example, I will propose to please refrain from delivering privilege speeches, but if they can't agree, they should limit the time and not deliberately delay the plenary proceedings," Belmonte said.
Members who intend to deliver privilege speeches are given only 10 minutes each under the rules. They can, however, still be interpellated by their colleagues.
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, the main author of the RH bill, earlier urged the House leadership to set a timetable on the deliberations of the measure as it has done the same for the consideration of the General Appropriations Bill.
Belmonte said the RH measure is not comparable to the General Appropriations Bill because most lawmakers are supporting the early passage of the latter.
"It is wrong to compare the budget and the RH bills because the appropriations measure for next year is being supported by most of the members of the House of Representatives while the RH measure is being opposed," he said.
The House of Representatives aims to have the budget bill approved on second reading by September 20 and on third reading by October 15. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)