MANILA—The scheduled third reading approval of the death penalty bill on Tuesday violates the three-day notice rule prescribed in the 1987 Constitution, an opposition lawmaker at the House of Representatives said.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the third and final reading on House Bill No. 4727, seeking to restore death penalty, is “premature” since it violates Section 26 (2) of Article VI of the Constitution.
“No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days and printed copies thereof in its final form had been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment,” the Constitution read.
Lagman likewise said that the schedule of the bill’s approval is unlawful under the House rules, which provides that: “no bill or joint resolution shall become law unless it passes three readings on separate days and printed copies thereof in its final form are distributed to the Members three days before its passage”.
Lagman said that the printed copies were reportedly distributed to the congressmen’s offices last Thursday and Friday, noting that such distribution was “unavailing and not compliant” with the constitutional provision.
“The alleged distribution last Thursday is fatally defective because on Thursdays, Representatives are not in their respective offices because most of them go home to their respective districts for constituency work and some have appointments with government officials concerning their districts, while Fridays are non-working days in the House of Representatives,” Lagman explained.
Lagman said the third and final reading of HB 4727 should be next week.
“Counting the three-day rule from Monday, and pursuant to the computation that the first day is excluded while the last day is included, the third day will still be on Thursday,” Lagman said.
“Consequently, the third reading is seasonable starting Friday, but Friday is not a session day,” he added.