THE approval of bills restoring the death penalty, emergency powers to address the traffic crisis, Charter change (Cha-cha), ratification of next year’s national budget, and others are among the top priorities of the House of Representatives when Congress resumes session this Monday.
“We have to raise the level of fear, especially among criminals. Death penalty for heinous crimes should be restored because it shows that the criminal justice system has been failing,” said Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, author of a bill to reimpose the death penalty, in light of the call of Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez to approve the death penalty bill on third and final reading before Congress goes on Christmas break.
“We have a strong House leadership that is committed to support the legislative agenda of President [Rodrigo} Rody Duterte. We will be persistent in working very hard for the interests of the common people. The President needs necessary legislation for him to effect meaningful and genuine change as he promised such as addressing traffic through Traffic Crisis Act and working on federalism to address inequalities,” Abu, also author of separate measures on Cha-Cha and emergency powers, pointed out.
In pushing for Cha-Cha, Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said Congress should buckle down to work in convening a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) to propose amendments to the Constitution that would clear the way to federalism, especially now that President Duterte has renewed his pitch to speed up the process that would lead to the shift to this system of government.
Villafuerte noted that the Senate and the House of Representatives need to craft new provisions in the Constitution specifying the federal switch in time for a plebiscite that would be held either alongside the midterm elections in 2019 or the 2020 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) synchronized elections at the latest.
Demonstrating his zeal and determination in establishing federalism in the country, President Duterte has renewed his call for this government switch during a week-ago speech before the launching of the Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other conflict affected areas in Mindanao in Cotabato City.