MANILA — The House of Representatives on Monday needed to wait for Tuesday or Wednesday this week in order to pass the controversial economic charter change (Cha-cha).
This after only 193 congressmen appeared and marked present during roll call. If needed, they will wait until next week, the last week of the 2nd regular session.
The author, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., need to wait for other members of the chamber to be present in the succeeding days and at least to get the nod of 228 congressmen representing three fourths of total members of the House of Representatives favoring Resolution of Both Houses 1 otherwise known as economic Cha-cha.
“Nominal voting is needed to pass any resolution or bill for third and final reading that is why we need warm bodies to be present on the day of voting,” House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II reminded House reporters in a recent interview.
Belmonte had admitted that he needs to make triple time effort to convince his colleagues to support economic Cha-cha and “this is no joke because RBH 1 is no ordinary.”
There are 290 members in the 16th Congress at the House of Representatives and three fourths vote needed is 228.
Last week, the House passed on second reading before they suspend the session for today (Monday). But only 193 congressmen registered their presence.
Belmonte admitted that he is happy after its passage to second reading for “this is the first time it ever reached this point.”
He said the “biggest hurdle is still to come.” Belmonte told reporters after the passage of the measure to second reading. The joint resolution of the House and the Senate doesn’t require the approval of the president.
According to the House leadership, if the Senate succeeded in doing the same thing, “then it will be a historical thing, the first time that it has ever been done. Then, it goes straight to the Comelec, it doesn’t need to pass through the President. The problem here is there is no money for a plebiscite.”
Asked what would be the remedy, the speaker said he wants the plebiscite to be included in the 2016 elections.
Belmonte said this measure, which hoped to lift the Philippine economic situation to a better position, might end up into waste should Congress does not throw its support — to give a chance in passing this into law.
He said he would not give up until after it was over, adding that he would try to convince his colleagues of “no turning back” because he was fully aware that this could make a giant leap in our economy if passed into law.