The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Monday called on lawmakers of the House of Representatives to set aside their differences and work to pass the proposed 2021 national budget to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“They have to lessen the drama and focus on the work at hand that is the budget for the pandemic. The virus will not disappear. Lockdowns are not the answer. Where will we put the people’s money? We hope they get quickly down to work. Both are lawyers and they are both my friends,” IBP national president Domingo Cayosa said in a message, referring to newly-installed House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and his predecessor, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Cayosa, however, said under the Constitution, it will be up to the members of the legislative body to elect its leadership according to its internal rules.
He added that as far as the Constitution is concerned, it does not prescribe the details and only says the lower chamber will elect its officials.
“In all Congresses, they have their internal rules. What is a vacancy, when someone dies etc. or when House declares the position vacant. All positions can be declared vacant by a majority vote of the members, 186 is obviously majority,” Cayosa said.
More than the propriety of holding a session outside Congress’ halls, Cayosa said what is more important is whether who between Velasco and Cayetano has the vote of the majority.
Cayosa opined that if both parties are claiming to have the vote of similar individuals, the most recent signature of the votes cast for either of them should prevail.
“The issue here is (whether) did they actually have 186 votes. If both camps are saying they have the votes, if there are those who voted twice, they should explain. The most recent signature should be considered. In casting a vote, no explanation is needed,” Cayosa said.