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Magic Man13
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PostSubject: Congress clears way for barangay polls   Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:54 pm

The election of barangay and youth council officials will push through as scheduled on Oct. 25. This developed on Wednesday after congressmen voted to shelve 31 bills all seeking to postpone the elections.

Dasmarinas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga said the House and Senate leaderships have reached an agreement with President Benigno Aquino III to push through with the polls.

The minority bloc immediately branded the House becoming a “rubber stamp Congress” for bowing to the wishes of President Benigno Aquino III.

Barzaga, chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, along with Senators and congressmen, met with the President on Tuesday and agreed to push through with the polls as scheduled.

After three hearings, Barzaga put the motion to a vote and shelved the deliberations of the bills “indefinitely.”

“It is the position of the Senate to take action on the postponement if the House would pass the bill that seeks the deferment of the polls. Since the position of the House leadership is agreeable to that of the President’s to push through with the elections, there is no reason to belabor the issue,” Barzaga said.

During the committee hearing that was presided over by Barzaga, the Minority bloc, led by House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said the House is becoming a “rubber stamp Congress” for “killing” the bills at the committee level.

“This has never happened before. At least we send the issue to the plenary to debate on it. In this case, the measures were killed at the committee level,” Lagman said.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte tried to protest and filed a motion for reconsideration but Barzaga refused to consider his motion since he did not participate in the voting.

“The chair cannot accept the motion from Honorable congressman from Bicol since he did not participate in the voting for being a non-member of the panel,” Barzaga ruled.

Any member of the House can attend committee hearings and participate in debates even if he or she is not a member of the panel but also has no voting powers.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez tried to stop the committee from adjourning the hearing but he was declared “out of order.”

Christine Herrera, Manila Standard Today
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