THE lack of a quorum during the second roll call prevented the oath-taking of former Bogo Mayor Celestino "Tining" Martinez and the passing of bills, including the Freedom of Information Act.
Commotion in the plenary hall ensued when around four representatives rushed to the podium right after A Teacher Representative Mariano Piamonte's privilege speech.
Camarines Sur Representative Luis Villafuerte spoke first while Zamboanga del Sur Representative Antonio Cerilles tried to interrupt him.
“I move that we go back to the original order of business,” Villafuerte said.
Cerilles meanwhile moved that he be allowed to interpolate Piamonte but when acting Speaker Ilocos Sur Representative Eric Singson said that Piamonte has already sat down, Cerilles moved to call the second roll around 6:40 pm.
The first roll call is done at 5 p.m. while the second roll is called at 7 p.m. based on an earlier agreement by the representatives.
A quorum at 145 attendance was achieved during the first roll call but only 95 representatives remained during the second roll call. Quorum is at 134.
Seen leaving the hall when the move for roll call was granted, was Cebu 2nd district Representative Pablo Garcia of Lakas-Kampi-CMD. He was present during the 5 p.m. roll call.
All throughout the session, Liberal Party bet Martinez, clad in a black coat and blue tie, was standing on the right side of the stage with his wife, waiting for his turn to take his oath.
The Supreme Court (SC) en banc on Tuesday filed an entry of judgment declaring with finality that Martinez is the true winner of the 2007 Cebu 4th District congressional race.
The SC decision dislodges Lakas-Kampi-CMD bet Benhur Salimbangon, who did not attend the session Tuesday.
But Martinez was still robbed of the chance to take his seat with only one session day left.
Due to the lack of quorum, other pending bills were also sacrificed, including the Freedom of Information Act, which only needs to be ratified by the House.
The bill will mandate all government officers "to comply with requests for information on matters of public concern guaranteed under the Constitution within 10 calendar days from receipt of a written request."
“I tried hard,” Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tañada said.
Tañada, who is also the Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, said that he went up and down the plenary in order to ensure that House Bill 3732 will be ratified Tuesday.
He said he has been lobbying for the bill to be passed since Monday.
The Senate has ratified the counterpart Senate Bill 3308 since Monday.
The bill has been pending in the Senate since May 15, 2008 and was only passed on third and final reading last December while the House has approved the counterpart measure on May 12, 2008.
Earlier during the session, Makati Representative Teddy Boy Locsin moved that Piamonte's speech, which already exceeded its allotted time, be cut short in order to give way to tackle more bills.
A votation was ordered to decide on the matter and the representatives voted in favor of Piamonte continuing his speech.
The House of Representatives adjourned at 6:50 p.m. (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)