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Zarate withdraws yes vote for Better Normal Bill: It’s unconstitutional

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Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate on Tuesday withdrew his yes vote to House Bill 6864 or the “Better Normal” Bill, saying he changed his mind because of its provisions “impinging” on the people’s right to petition their government for redress of grievances.

“The undersigned respectfully withdraws the YES vote registered under his name on House Bill 6864 or the Better Normal Bill,” the Makabayan lawmaker said in a letter to Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.

“While we recognize that none of the old must remain as we face the aftermath of this pandemic, upon further scrutiny and assessment, we found some major provisions in the approved bill to not be in accord with our party principles,” he said.

“For instance, we place grave concern over the provisions on the limitation on public gatherings as provided in the Bill’s Section 6. B. Management of Spaces,” Zarate explained.

“The prohibition on gatherings, we submit, impinges on the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of our people to express themselves and to petition the government for redress of grievances. In these days that the freedom of speech and expression are besieged, we cannot, in good conscience, support acts that we believe might only further curtail the said rights,” he added.

“I respectfully request that this formal withdrawal be entered in the records of the House on this matter,” Zarate said.

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