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Lower house political parties denounce ‘confrontational stance’ of Senate

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On Monday, major political parties in the House of Representatives upheld the honor and integrity of the House, supported the leadership of Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and denounced the “confrontational stance” of the Senate against their chamber, a press release from the House of Representatives said.

At least 286 lawmakers voted for the adoption of House Resolution (HR) No. 1562, expressing their “unwavering solidarity” with Speaker Romualdez and the House “in the face of intense assault from the Senate in violation of the principle of inter-parliamentary courtesy and undue interference in the performance of its legislative and constituent functions.”

Speaking for Lakas-CMD, the largest political party in the House of Representatives, North Cotabato Rep. Ma. Alana Samantha T. Santos said the recent actions of the Senate were “marked by a confrontational stance and allegations against our House and its members” and “constitute not only a breach of inter-parliamentary courtesy but also an undue interference in our legislative and constituent functions.”

“We denounce the confrontational tactics employed by the Senate, which harm the spirit of cooperative governance and shake the public’s confidence in our democratic processes. We call for a return to respectful dialogue and adherence to the norms of inter-parliamentary courtesy. It is imperative that both Houses of Congress work in harmony for the betterment of our people and our nation, rather than engaging in unproductive and divisive conflicts,” she said.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers of the Nacionalista Party (NP), Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte of the National Unity Party (NUP), San Jose del Monte City Rep. Rida Robes of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), Palawan Rep. Jose “Pepito” Alvarez of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr. of the Liberal Party (LP), TGP Partylist Rep. Jose “Bong” Teves, Jr. of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI), Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, and Rizal Rep. Jack Duavit of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) delivered their speeches to support the resolution strongly.

According to them, they value the integrity of the democratic institutions and recognize the need to defend the honor of the House of Representatives.

Santos said Lakas-CMD acknowledges that taking criticism and engaging in constructive debate are part of democracy. “Nonetheless, the allegations leveled by the Senate not only challenge the integrity of our institution but also erode public confidence in our parliamentary processes. Such confrontational tactics are counterproductive to the spirit of cooperative governance.”

Santos pointed out that in the face of the baseless allegations, “Speaker Romualdez has exemplified leadership by guiding us in upholding the dignity and honor of our House.”

“It is our duty as representatives of the people to stand united in rejecting these unfounded accusations and to commit ourselves to defend the dignity and integrity of our institution,” she stressed.

Villafuerte said his group, “while championing transparency and the ethos of accountability, observes that the approach adopted by the Senate exceeds the bounds of constructive scrutiny and ventures into the realm of undue disparagement.”

“Such actions not only compromise the decorum expected between co-equal branches of government but also impinge upon the honor and autonomy of this House. In these testing times, Speaker Romualdez has exemplified astute leadership, navigating these turbulent waters with grace and an unwavering commitment to uphold the principles of mutual respect and independence,” he said.

He said NUP joins the rest of the House in repudiating baseless allegations and safeguarding the dignity and sovereignty of this institution.

“We vehemently object to the Senate’s contentious methods, which undermine not only the cooperative ethos essential for effective governance but also erode the trust of our citizenry in the democratic process. We advocate for a restoration of dignified discourse and a recommitment to the principles of interlegislative respect, ensuring collaborative and harmonious functioning of both legislative bodies for the greater good of our nation,” he said.

Barbers traced the feud between the two chambers of Congress to efforts by the House to introduce constitutional reform in the Charter’s economic provisions and the subsequent people’s initiative of private citizens to propose amendments directly.

“Our Constitution, the cornerstone of our democracy, outlines the process for its amendment. The House of Representatives, under the guidance of Speaker Romualdez, has taken steps to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution, fostering a more investor-friendly and globally competitive Philippines. This initiative, embodied in Resolution of Both Houses No. 6, reflects our dedication to national progress,” Barbers said.

“Yet, in pursuing these commendable goals, the House has faced accusations from the Senate. Allegations of fraudulent initiatives and misuse of government resources have cast a shadow over the support extended by individual congressmen to the People’s Initiative,” he said.

However, he said the NP believes in the importance of due process and the presumption of innocence.

“The confrontational stance adopted by the Senate not only breaches inter-parliamentary courtesy but also undermines the integrity of our parliamentary institutions,” Barbers added.

He shared the call “for the restoration of respectful dialogue and adherence to inter-parliamentary courtesy.”

“It is imperative that both Houses of Congress work in harmony for the betterment of our people and our nation. The spirit of cooperative governance must prevail over divisive conflicts,” he said.*

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