The BBL, Congress and its Legislative Process

By: Junn Bin Abdullah

September 28, 2017

CAMP DARAPANAN, SULTAN KUDARAT, MAGUINDANAO-( September 28, 2017) –  The BTC-crafted Bangsamoro Basic Law has been filed last Tuesday, and numbered as HB 6475. The bill is sponsored by no less than the Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rudy Farinas, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra Sema of 1st District of Maguindanao, and Rep. Ruby Sahali of Tawi-Tawi as principal sponsors and about 80 congressmen/women attested to co – author the same.

In this recent development, many groups are asking what is next now that BBL is filed; How congress will do its mandate and what is their limitations; How legislative processes works. For the sake of those who are not familiar on how laws are enacted by congress, Luwaran is humbly sharing the details.

CONGRESS: The highest lawmaking body in the Philippines and its power is vested by Philippine Constitution.

It is a bicameral body consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives is composed of the congressmen / women elected from their legislative districts and partylist representatives. The Senate on the other hand is made up of senators, elected at large on a national level.

With the key function to craft laws, the congress produces two principal documents, bills and resolutions. Resolutions convey principles and sentiments that address either of the houses. Bills are legislative proposals that may become laws.

Here is a summary of how a bill becomes a law. (obtained from official website of the Senate). Filing / Calendaring for First Reading. A bill is filed in the office of the Secretary where it is given a corresponding number and calendared for First Reading.

FIRST READING: Its title, bill number and authors name are read on the floor after which is referred to proper committee.

COMMITTEE HEARINGS / REPORT: Committee conducts hearing and consultation meetings. It then approves the proposed bill without an amendment, approves it with changes or recommends substitution or consolidation with similar bills filed.

CALENDARING FOR SECOND READING: The committee report with its approved version is submitted to the Committee on Rules for calendaring for Second Reading.

SECOND READING: Bill author delivers sponsorship speech on the floor. Senators engage in debate, interpellation, turno en contra and rebuttal to highlight the pros and cons of the bill. A period of amendment incorporates necessary changes in the bill proposed by the Committee or introduced by Senators themselves on the floor. Senators vote on the Second reading version of the bill. If approved, the bill is calendared for 3rd Reading.

VOTING ON THIRD READING: Printed copies of the bill’s final version are distributed to the Senators. This time only the title of the bill is read on the floor. Nominal voting is held. If passed, the approved Senate bill is referred to the House of Representatives for concurrence. (At the House of Representatives, the lower chamber follows the same procedures of ” three reading principles. ”

BACK TO THE SENATE: If the House approved version is compatible with that of the senate, the final versions enrolled form is printed. If there are certain differences, a Bicameral Conference Committee is called to reconcile conflicting provisions of both versions of the Senate and of the House of Representatives. Conference Committee submits report on the reconciled version of the bill, duly approved by both chambers the Senate prints the reconciled version in its enrolled form.

SUBMISSION TO MALACANANG:  Final enrolled form is submitted to Malacañang. The President either signs it into law or vetoes it, and sends it back to the Senate with veto message. If the President fails to do either, the bill will lapse into law after 30 days.

Those are the processes on how a bill becomes a law. A reminder to our Honorable Legislators that it is now your chance to leave a legacy to the Bangsamoro people. There is no other way of correcting historical injustices suffered by them except by passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law that is CAB complaint and let the Supreme Court decide if there will be legal infirmities as alleged by some.

For us to reflect, ” WHERE JUSTICE IS DENIED, WHERE POVERTY IS ENFORCED, WHERE IGNORANCE PREVAILS AND WHERE ANY ONE CLASS IS MADE TO FEEL THAT SOCIETY IS AN ORGANIZED CONSPIRACY TO OPPRESS, ROB AND DEGRADE THEM, NEITHER PERSONS NOR PROPERTY WILL BE SAFE. ” (Frederick Douglass)

 

Originally posted at: https://www.luwaran.com/news/article/1025/the-bbl–congress-and-its-legislative-process

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