By Billy Begas
Seven lawmakers have protested the move of the House of Representatives to recall the third reading approval of the measure institutionalizing the Accord between the University of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense (DND).
House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, Bayan Muna Representatives Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat and Quezon City Rep. Christopher Belmonte wrote a two-page letter to Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco to air their protest.
The lawmakers noted that the UP Security Bill (House Bill 10171) was unanimously approved on third and final reading on September 21 with 179 affirmative votes and transmitted to the Senate on September 22.
However, on the night of September 30, the last day of session before the break, House Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla moved to recall the measure.
“Mr. Speaker I move that we reconsider the action by the plenary on House Bill 10171 in Session dated September 21, 2021,” Remulla said.
Deputy Speaker and Valenzuela Eric Martinez, who presided the session, approved the measure after no one objected to it.
In the letter, the lawmakers pointed out that Section 106 of the Rules of the 18th Congress states that “when a measure, report or motion is approved, adopted or lost, a Member who voted with the majority may move for its reconsideration on the same or succeeding session day.”
The lawmakers stressed that five session days has already passed since the deadline on September 22, “thereby making the reconsideration INVALID.”
“Thus, we would like to put this manifestation on record in the Journal for September 30, and request that the move for reconsideration of HB 10171 be declared null and void,” the letter read.
The measure seeks to prevent the unwarranted intrusion of state security forces into all UP campuses and ensure that the right to procedural due process is accorded to students, staff and faculty.
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is against the measure and lauded the move of Remulla.