By Christina Mendez | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. vowed yesterday that he will be sponsoring as soon as possible the House measure recommending the creation of a new province out of Camarines Sur.
Marcos said he is sure that the measure will be the subject of further heated debates since many of his colleagues have signified their intention “to make their objections” known during plenary discussions.
Marcos admitted that the bill has created so much controversy, with lobbying affecting the release of the report of the primary Senate committee on local government which he chairs.
“I don’t know why it has grown into this monster that it has become now. This is supposed to be a local bill,” Marcos said.
“In the larger scale of things, (we have more important measures such as) the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, yet we have this one getting the priority, the time and the energy,” he added.
Marcos said the delay was due to pressure from two opposing sides, including some of his colleagues who are against the division of Camarines Sur.
“There are all kinds of pressure being applied to us. You know that even the honorable and industrious proponents of the bill are very insistent. In fact, this is another attempt to rush the (approval of the) bill,” he said, referring to the committee report submitted by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who chairs the secondary committee on constitutional amendments.
Sen. Franklin Drilon raised a parliamentary question on Tuesday asking why the committee report issued by Santiago was referred to the committee on rules.
This triggered debates in the plenary session when Sen. Joker Arroyo reiterated that the Senate is being drawn into the “gerrymandering” of local politicians.
Santiago’s move, which got the support of some administration allies at the Senate, is seen as an effort to speed up the passage of the House measure.
In another interview, Santiago admitted that there were efforts to speed up the passage of the bill creating Nueva Camarines.
Santiago said delaying the sponsorship of the measure is one way of defeating its approval since the Commission on Elections cannot set a date for a plebiscite.
The heated debates were also sparked by reports that the bill’s approval was the quid pro quo for Rep. Luis Villafuerte and his allies to let go of their opposition to the appointment of the late Interior and Local Government secretary Jesse Robredo before the Commission on Appointments.
Robredo, who died with two pilots in a plane crash last Aug. 18, did not get his CA approval but was reportedly given assurance of it prior to his death. His confirmation hearing was reset yesterday.
Marcos said he has no problems with Santiago’s secondary report since it can be incorporated once his committee has issued its report.
“You can take note of the secondary committee report but there is a primary report now being routed (for the signature of senators),” he said.