Members of the House of Representatives have ignored the appeal of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. for them to attend plenary session.
Belmonte admitted that the House only mustered quorum twice since Congress opened on July 27. On Tuesday, session was adjourned at 5:40 p.m. because there were only 116 lawmakers present. For a quorum to be declared, 146 lawmakers should be present.
“Yes, we have a quorum problem, although I anticipated such this week because of the two-day work week due to the holidays. I convened a meeting among the House leaders this afternoon, and we have agreed that in addition to my office calling up or texting our members [to show up], they should send text messages to their members as well,” Belmonte told said in an interview.
August 19 is a holiday in Quezon City, it being the birth anniversary of former President Manuel Quezon. August 21 is a legal holiday declared to observed the death anniversary of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.
“The responsibility here does not only fall on me. It falls on everybody, and they (people in the meeting) pro¬mised to do that [convince their members to show up],” Belmonte added.
The Deputy Speakers from the majority bloc coalition include Leyte Rep. Sergio Apostol, Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad and Lanao del Sur Rep. Pangalian Balindong of the ruling Liberal Party, Isabela Rep. Gior¬gidi Aggabao of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Car¬los Padilla of the Naciona¬lista Party and Antipolo Rep. Robbie Puno.
The House has yet to resume plenary debates on the proposed law for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for lack of quorum.
“I ask for understanding…I agree we should be strictly enforcing it (attendance). We should have a quorum. We had a quorum on certain days but it is very difficult for that quorum to last for four to five hours. If we are able to compose a quorum for that long, then we should be able to transact business,” Belmonte, who has just recovered from dengue, pointed out.
“Next week, I anticipate something better. I know time is running out,” he added.