Senate adopts minor amendment on rules on inquiries

August 10, 2010 10:45 am 

MANILA, Aug. 9 – The Senate committee on rules adopted on Monday minor amendments on rules of procedure on congressional inquiries.

Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto III said the Senate will continue to adopt the existing rules on inquiries but will amend Section 24 to cover its effectivity that will take effect seven days after publication in two general circulation newspapers.

”To avoid being cited on a technicality in the future, we will publish the rules and procedures in the soonest possible time,” Sotto said.

Sotto was referring to the 2008 Supreme Court decision which sustained former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Romulo Neri’s contention that his conversations with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the controversial NBN-ZTE project were covered by executive privilege.

”The SC found it in violation of Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution for not publishing the rules which made the subject hearings in aid of legislation conducted by the 14th Congress procedurally infirm,” Sotto explained.

Aside from the minor amendment on rules of procedure, the committee on rules also tackled on who should get credits to a bill filed or refilled by a number of senators.

The committee members agreed to give the title as ‘principal author’ to the one who can file a more ‘substantial’ measure.

Senator Pia Cayetano has questioned on the floor an old system of filing bills in the Senate.

“I hope the Senate will have a clear regulations in the system of refiling proposed measures. I think there's nothing wrong with copying, especially if it's a good measure, even it was already filed by other senators or former senators of the previous Congresses. But we should recognize the original author even in the explanatory note of the refiled measure,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano revealed that some senators’ staff will even stay overnight outside the office of the Bills and Index in the Senate just to make sure that they would be the first to file their bills to eventually get the credit.

”It’s like a system in school wherein students have to get the line very early in the morning just to get better slots of the schedule,” she said. (PNA) scs/jfm


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