Interpellations on House Bill No. 3917

BILL ON SECOND READING

H. No. 3917–Increasing the Number of Members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Biñan (Continuation)

 Senator Pimentel: With the consent of the Senate, I move that we resume consideration of House Bill No. 3917 as reported out under Committee Report No. 72.

The President: Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, resumption of consideration of House Bill No. 3917 is now in order.

Senator Pimentel: This is the bill increasing the number of the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Biñan.

The sponsor, Senator Marcos, delivered his sponsorship speech on this measure last December 10, 2014. I move that we recognize again the sponsor.

The President: The   sponsor, Senator Marcos, is recognized for the period of interpellations.

Senator Marcos: Thank you, Mr. President.

SUSPENSION OF SESSION

Senator Pimentel: Mr. President, may we have a one-minute suspension of the session.

The President: Is there any objection? [Silence] They’re being none, the session is suspended for one minute.

4:36 p.m.

RESUMPTION OF SESSION

At 4:41 p.m., the session was resumed.

The President: The session is resumed. The Majority Leader is recognized.

Senator Pimentel: Mr. President, I ask that the Acting Minority Leader, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto, be recognized to interpellate on the measure.

The President: On the period of interpellations and debate, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto is recognized.

Senator Sotto: Thank you, Mr. President.

Will the distinguished gentleman from Ilocos Norte yield for some questions to remove my confusion?

Senator Marcos: Certainly, Mr. President, to the gentleman from Quezon City.

Senator Sotto: Thank you.

The President: Will the good Sponsor speak through the microphone?

Senator Marcos: I would certainly yield the Floor to the gentleman from Quezon City, Mr. President.

Senator Sotto: Thank you, Mr. President.

I overheard the Acting Majority Leader read a different title from what I received under Committee Report No. 72. May I be enlightened on this matter first, Mr. President, before I go into the details?

Senator Marcos: Well, Mr. President, to be very clear, I think what was read by the Majority Leader was the long title. And so to clarify, I would like to read the title of House Bill No. 3917, “An Act Increasing the Number of Members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City Of Biñan From Ten (10) to Twelve (12) and Separating It From the First Legislative District of the Province of Laguna to Constitute the Lone Legislative District of the City   of Biñan, Amending For the Purpose Sections 10 and 61, Respectively, of Republic Act No. 9740, Otherwise Known As the “Charter of the City of Biñan.”

I hope that clarifies the intent of the House bill as it was transmitted to the Senate, Mr. President.

Senator Sotto: All right. As I said, I am a little confused, Mr. President. I thought, originally, the intention of the bill was to add additional members to the Sangguniang Panlunsod from 10 to 12. So, presently, was that the original intention of the measure or the measure already included the creation of a lone legislative district to be known as the “District of Biñan”?

Senator Marcos: That is right. That is certainly the case, Mr. President, the confusion arises. Actually, possibly, we can amend this to be clearer because the intention is to create a new legislative district of the City of Biñan. And to adjust to that new status, the Sangguniang Panlunsod of the city would be increase from 10 to 12. So, that is more an effect of the redistricting.

As a matter of fact, maybe to jump ahead a little bit, Mr. President, one of the committee amendments is to change the title of the bill and change it to read as follows: “AN ACT SEPARATING THE CITY OF BIÑAN FROM THE FIRST LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT OF THE PROVINCE OF LAGUNA TO CONSTITUTE THE   LONE   LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT OF THE   CITY OF BIÑAN, precisely, to make sure that there is no confusion as to what the intent of the bill is.

Senator Sotto: All right, that somehow relieves me of part of the confusion. Mr. President, I used to be the chairman of the Committee on Local Government for six years from 1992 to 1998, and one of the measures that I sponsored was the additional members of the Sanggunian for   the City   of Calbayog, that was it.

So, reading the original title wherein the gentleman will add additional members and then the second intention which is to create the legislative district raised an eyebrow. But, as the gentleman is putting it, I would rather address this measure as the creation of a legislative district of Biñan.

Senator Marcos: Yes, Mr. President, precisely.

Senator Sotto: The additional members of the sanggunian should be another topic, Mr. President, if that is   the case, lest we be charged with gerrymandering which was charged this august Body before during the time of the sponsorship of the City   of Makati. I think it is best that the original intention be done. Let us just create the Legislative District of Biñan, and concentrate on that.

The President: Yes. I concur with the Acting Minority Leader. In fact, the   sponsor, as he has already mentioned, has proposed committee amendments which, in effect, will just limit the bill to the creation of a congressional district. Because having the second matter which is the increase in the number of sanggunian members could really suffer from an infirmity in the sense that there will be two subjects embraced in the same title.

So,  I think the sponsor saw that defect and has, in   fact, proposed committee amendments which will remove that infirmity and as correctly pointed out by Senator Sotto, we should now be able to defend the constitutionality of this measure.

Senator Marcos: Thank you, Mr. President.

The confusion, I think, arises from the fact that that was the original title of House Bill No. 3917 as transmitted to the Senate. And so, that was the bill that was heard in the Committee on Local   Government and that is why   we identified the same problem and that is why one of the proposed committee amendments is to change the title of the bill and speak only in the title of the new legislative district.

Senator Sotto: But does the gentleman intend to change the number of members of the sangguniang panlungsod on the same measure inside the bill from 10 to 12? I ask this, Mr. President, and I hope I will hear an answer that will remove my fear or apprehension because once we add an additional seat in the sangguniang panlungsod, we are amending another law, the Charter of the City of Biñan.

The President: Yes.

Senator Sotto: Then, we fall into the category of gerrymandering, Mr. President.

Senator Marcos: Well, Mr. President, if this increase in the members of the sanggunian is found under RA No. 6636 and to read Section 3:“The provision of any law to the contrary notwithstanding the City of Cebu, City of Davao, and any other city with more than one representative district shall have eight (8) councilors for each district who shall be residents thereof to be elected by the qualified voters therein, provided that the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Bacolod, Iloilo and other cities comprising a representative district shall have twelve (12) councilors each x x x.”

So,   in compliance with that, we are adjusting the membership of the sanggunian because that will be a natural consequence of the new   district being created.

Senator Sotto: That is the effect, Mr. President, I agree. But look at the

Charter of the City of Binan, what does it say?

Senator Marcos: I think, to answer the question of the gentleman more directly, the version that I sponsored, we are silent, we no longer spoke about the increase in the membership of the sanggunian.

The President: That is the impression of the Chair. The bill, after the committee amendments are introduced, will no longer contain the increase in the membership of the sangguniang panlungsod.

Senator Sotto: In that case, I have no   problem with that then, Mr. President.

The President: If the gentleman will read the committee amendments, that is, in effect, what will happen. The body of the bill will be amended so that any referral to the increase in the membership of the sangguniang panlungsod will be deleted from the bill. The title will be so amended so that the bill will now deal only with the creation of a lone congressional district. Is that correct, Mr. Sponsor?

Senator Marcos: Mr. President, that is precisely correct.

The President: All right.

Senator Marcos: I think we can consider that the reorganization of the Sanggunian of the city will automatically become 12 because of the section that I just read of Republic Act No. 6636.

Senator Sotto: Yes, perhaps that will be the effect   and let the City of Binan worry about that. Let us concentrate on the intent of the measure. I do agree. If that is for the record, then I have no problem with that.

Senator Marcos: We fully agree with the observations of the gentleman.

The President: All right.

Senator Marcos: And that is why, in the proposed amendments, those points will be taken into account. The subject will solely be about the creation of the lone district and there is no   mention within the final version of the reorganization of the Sanggunian Panlungsod.

Senator Sotto. All right. I would like to thank the Sponsor.   Now, let me go to another topic. May I know the current composition of the legislative district of Laguna? Binan is included in the First Legislative District, is that correct?

Senator Marcos.   Presently, the First District include Binan City,   the City of Sta. Rosa and San Pedro City.   All of those cities, in fact, have larger than 250,000 inhabitants.

Senator Sotto. What is the population of Binan?

Senator Marcos. According to the latest statistics that we have, Binan

City’s population is 283,396. That is as of 2010.

Senator Sotto. That is the population itself. Now, would the Sponsor have the land area of Binan and the income?

Senator Marcos. I have the income. As I am sure the gentleman knows, the single qualification required is for the creation of a lone district population. But, nevertheless, it is an important question. The City of Binan has reported a   total   income for the   following fiscal years:     2012   its   income was P1,022,621,811.05; in 2013, the reported income was P1,140,981,734.

Senator Sotto. All right. Well, I was asking for the land area because correct me   if I am   wrong, if my geography serves me   right, Binan is in the middle of Sta. Rosa and San Pedro. Is this correct?

Senator Marcos. That is correct, Mr. President. And that is why, again, this point came up.   The experience of the gentleman in local government is showing.   This came up, but if we look   closely at the law that allows us to create new legislative districts, it says that the towns within a district must be contiguous as far as practicable–I think it is the language there.

So,   considering that we cannot really deny Biñan City   is qualified for their legislative district then we will just have to handle it that way.   We handle separated towns, like   the towns that are islands. And   perhaps, the way   to handle this situation would be similar to that.

Senator Sotto.     My   worry,   Mr.   President,   is   that we   will   be dismembering the first district and it is smack in the middle. So, what happens to Sta. Rosa and San Pedro, they are not contiguous? But they are the first district.

Senator Marcos. They are in the same district. I anticipate that one or both of these cities will eventually also be coming to Congress to create their own legislative districts because both of them are also qualified.

Senator Sotto.   How   many districts are there now   in   Laguna, Mr. President?

Senator Marcos. Presently, Laguna has four legislative districts.

Senator Sotto. There are four legislative districts.   And    the entire population of Laguna, would the gentleman have it?   I asked, Mr. President, because the Quezon City–we passed in the last Congress the creation of two additional districts.   What I am   thinking is that, have the sponsors of this

measure in the House not considered just redistricting Laguna into six districts pretty much like   Cavite that became seven instead of getting one   city   and making it a district and they can make it contiguous?

Senator Marcos. I think what happened here is that, essentially it was just directed at Biñan.   The   House bill,   as it was transmitted to   us, only concerns itself with Biñan and not a redistricting of the entire province unlike as we have done in Quezon City and also we have done in Cavite.   So, it is directly related only   to   Biñan so   they did   not look   into the possibility of redistricting the entire province because that, of course, would take a great deal more time and it would be much more complicated than the proposal we have before us.

Senator Sotto.   What was the position of the sponsors in the House on what happens to Sta. Rosa and San Pedro two separate municipalities or cities, that are apart from each other but are composed of one   legislative district? What did they say and what did the local officials of the cities say?

Senator Marcos. Well, yes, we have consultations with all of those that were affected: the congressman of the first district; the mayors of both towns that are beside Biñan, and none of them have interposed any objection. And, furthermore, Mr. President, what happened here is that Biñan has invoked the constitutional provision, Article VI, which is entitled, Legislative Department, under Section 5, paragraph 3, which reads:

Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city–this is the most important part–with a population of at least two hundred

fifty   thousand,   or   each   province, shall   have   at   least   one representative.

Therefore, by rights, they invoked this provision and that is the provision that we are applying to the proposal to create this new district.

The President. Just for the clarity of the Chair.   Is the thrust of the interpellation of the Minority Leader saying that, with the creation of Biñan, the existing district consisting now only of Sta. Rosa and San Pedro will no longer be contiguous? Is that the thrust?

Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President, that is my worry. Now the gentleman from Ilocos Norte was mentioning the operative phrase of “as far as practicable” as being the reason for them to be able to do that. I do not really have any violent objections to this but it leaves confusion as far I am concerned. And, of course, this is only my opinion.

Just to complete my records, Mr. President, if the Chair does not mind and the distinguished sponsor, what is the population of Sta. Rosa and what is the population of San Pedro?

Senator   Marcos.     The   population of   San Pedro is   294,310; the population of Sta. Rosa is 284,670.

Senator Sotto. Mr. President, it is larger than Biñan. They are both larger than Biñan.

Senator Marcos. Well, yes, they are both larger than Biñan.

Senator Sotto. And we are going to make a legislative district out of the smallest city in the first legislative district.

Senator Marcos.   Be that as it may, they are qualified because under

the Constitution the population of 250,000 is the sole requirement….

Senator Sotto. Yes, I know.

Senator Marcos.   And again, I do not think that we should be surprised if in the near future we will see   San Pedro and Sta. Rosa at least, thinking about also creating a new district.

Senator Sotto.   Yes.   Who is the congressman of the First District of

Laguna, Mr. President?

Senator Marcos. The present representative is here, Congressman Dan Fernandez. He is one of the main proponents of this bill that we have before us now.

Senator Sotto. May we know where Congressman Fernandez resides, Mr. President,–in Sta. Rosa, Biñan or Laguna?

Senator Marcos.   Congressman Dan is from Sta. Rosa.

Senator Sotto.   Sta. Rosa. All right. Well, I do not know if it is proper but I am wondering why the gentleman did not file a legislative district creating Sta. Rosa. It is more qualified than Biñan, Mr. President, as far as–

Senator Marcos.   Not more qualified, equally.

Senator Sotto.   Not more qualified. I stand corrected. Yes, equally qualified but with a larger population.

Senator Marcos.   Mr. President, I was unable to answer the question of the gentleman earlier about the total population of Laguna and the number that I have been given is 2,669,849, again, as of 2010.

Senator Sotto.   It is 2,669,849—will the mathematicians in the Hall answer me—divided by six would be how much?

Senator Marcos. It is 448,607….

Senator Sotto. I wonder why the congressmen from Laguna did not file a redistricting of Laguna instead. They could even qualify for eight districts, Mr. President, instead of dismembering a legislative district.

Nevertheless, I   wanted those   details   spread   into the   Record, Mr. President. I wish to thank the gentleman. I hope he would favor us with some more inputs on this. We would like to research on the matter, if the gentleman does not mind. The Acting Majority Leader I think would like to continue with the interpellation. So I thank the gentleman for answering my questions.   And at least, I was able to put into the Record my worry and part of my confusion has been removed.

Senator Marcos.     It is actually, Mr. President, a similar situation to what we have in many other provinces. Pangasinan, for example, is qualified for many more than the number of districts that they have. Quezon City is actually qualified for 10 legislative districts but for whatever reason, the local government officials have decided to propose in the way   that they did.   So, again, it is really up to the local governments to invoke their right as provided for in the Constitution as cities with greater population of 250,000, they are invoking that right to create further legislative district.

Senator Sotto. Again, thank you, Mr. President. By the way, one final question. Will this undergo a plebiscite?

Senator Marcos. There is no need for a plebiscite for the creation of a lone district. The only requirement is that population exceeds 250,000.

Senator Sotto.   All right.   Thank you, Mr. President.

Senator Marcos. Thank you.

The President.   Again for the record. With   the creation of the city of Binan as a separate district, will there be common borders between Sta. Rosa and San Pedro? Will there be towns that will be on the border of each…   In other words, what the chair would like to inquire is the term “contiguous as far as practicable” could still   be complied with or satisfied if there are common borders of Sta. Rosa and San Pedro. Are we saying that they are completely cut off from each other?

Senator Marcos.   Binan City seats smack in the middle of San Pedro and Sta. Rosa in the middle of the first district.

The President. So hindi po kayo puwedeng pumunta mula sa San Pedro

papuntang Sta. Rosa kung hindi dadaan sa Binan?

Senator Marcos. Tatawid po kayo sa distrito ng Binan, Mr. President.

The President. Walang common border, in other words.

Senator Marcos.   No,   Mr.   President.   Binan is   right in   the middle, between Sta. Rosa City and San Pedro City.

The President. All right, just for the record. Yes, the Majority Leader is recognized.

Senator Pimentel. Mr. President, I wanted to interpellate, but most of my questions have already been asked by the Acting Minority Leader.   And I

have been   informed that   Senator   Osmeña,   who   made   reservation   for interpellations, instead of interpellating will   propose specific amendments. But, I think the Acting Minority Leader is requesting for time to further study the measure.

In that case, I move that we suspend…

SUSPENSION OF SESSION

I move that we suspend the session for one minute, Mr. President.

The President. The session is suspended for one minute, if there is no objection. [There was none.]

It was 5:07 p.m.

RESUMPTION OF SESSION

At 5:09 p.m., the session was resumed.

The President. The session is resumed.

Senator Pimentel.   For additional interpellation or manifestation, Mr. President, Senator Honasan wants to be recognized.

The President. Senator Honasan is recognized in the period of debates.

Senator Honasan. This is not actually a question, Mr. President.

Thank   you, Mr.   President.   To the distinguished sponsor, would he tolerate additional comments?

Senator Marcos. Not only tolerate, Mr. President, but welcome–I yield the Floor to Senator Honasan.

Senator Honasan. Well, Mr. President, the representative and our local government leaders from the concerned area are here. I just want to put this

on record, lay this at the feet of the committee and I will submit to the better judgment and the collective wisdom of the chamber.

Mr.   President, to the best of my   knowledge, the land use plan, long overdue, might gain some momentum in the early part of next year.   This is just a practical submission that it will give the committee and the chamber, the legislator, less policy matters to unclog if we spend prudently sometime to deliberate on this. Aside from the constitutionally mandated requirements, the issue basically here, is productivity. So, this is actually a golden opportunity for   us to   not do   this right but to   do   this well   for   future long-term policy purposes. I submit to the better judgment of the Sponsor, Mr. President.

Senator   Marcos.   Thank   you, Mr.   President; thank   you, Senator Honasan. We will certainly take that observation into account and perhaps at a later session, we could put that in a form of some kind of a message. I will consult with the Senator and perhaps, we can find a way to ease the burden should the land use plan then be   finalized to   simplify and streamline the delivery of services and the economic activity within all of these cities.

Senator Honasan. Thank you, Mr. President, and for practical purposes to ease the political pain of this measure.

Senator Marcos. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. Thank you, Senator Honasan.

Senator Pimentel. At this point, Mr. President, I move that we close the period of interpellations.

The President.   Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the period of interpellations is hereby terminated.

Senator Marcos.   We   have yet–Senator Osmeña had reserved to interpellate   but he has amended that now   to   simply propose individual amendments.

The President.   So, the period of committee amendments could be in order if we–

Senator Marcos.   We   are ready with committee amendments,   Mr. President.

Senator Pimentel.   So, I move that we open the period of committee amendments.

The President.   Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the period of committee amendments on House Bill No. 3719 is in order.

Senator Marcos, as Chair of the Committee, may propose   committee amendments on the bill.

COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS

Senator Marcos. Thank you, Mr. President,   I have seven committee amendments.

The first one is on page 1, delete the entire Section 1, and in lieu thereof, insert the following:

SECTION 1.   LONE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT.   THE CITY OF BIÑAN IS HEREBY SEPARATED FROM THE FIRST LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT OF THE PROVINCE OF LAGUNA TO CONSTITUTE THE LONE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

OF THE CITY OF BIÑAN WHICH SHALL COMMENCE IN THE NEXT NATIONAL ELECTION AFTER THE EFFECTIVITY OF THIS ACT.

I so move.

The President.   Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the committee amendment is hereby approved.

Senator Marcos. The second amendment, Mr. President, is on page 2, delete the entire Section 2.   I so move, Mr. President.

The President.   Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, on page 2, Section 2, from lines 4 to 11, is deleted and the subsequent sections are renumbered accordingly.

Senator Marcos. Thank you, Mr. President.

The next committee amendment, on the same page, line 14, delete the phrase “the expiration of his term of office”,   and in lieu   thereof, insert the phrase THE NEW REPRESENTATIVE OF THE LONE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF BIÑAN SHALL HAVE BEEN ELECTED AND QUALIFIED. I so move, Mr. President.

The President.   Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment is hereby approved.

Senator Marcos. On the same page, delete the entire Section 4. I so move, Mr. President.

The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment is approved.

Senator Marcos. The next amendment is to renumber the succeeding sections accordingly.

I so move, Mr. President.

The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment is approved.

Senator Marcos. On page 3, line 5, delete the phrase “any newspaper”

and in lieu thereof insert the phrase: AT LEAST TWO NEWSPAPERS.

I so move, Mr. President.

The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment is approved.

Senator Marcos. And the last committee amendment we propose is to delete the title of the bill and in lieu   thereof insert the new   title to read as follows: AN ACT SEPARATING THE CITY OF BIÑAN FROM THE FIRST LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT OF THE   PROVINCE OF LAGUNA TO CONSTITUTE THE LONE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF BIÑAN.

I so move, Mr. President.

The President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment is approved.

Senator Marcos. That is the extent of the committee amendments, Mr. President.

The President. Majority Leader.

SUSPENSION OF CONSIDERATION OF H. NO. 3917

Senator Pimentel.   To give   us time to   go over   the clean copy, Mr. President, I move that we suspend consideration of House Bill No. 3917 under Committee Report No. 72.

The President. So, the period for committee amendments is terminated. When we   resume consideration of   this measure, we   shall proceed with individual amendments that could be   proposed by   the members of   the Chamber and for that purpose, the secretary is   directed to prepare a new version of the measure incorporating the committee amendments for purposes of the debates on the individual amendments.

There is a motion that we now suspend consideration of the measure. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the motion is approved.

Senator Marcos. Thank you, Mr. President.

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