THE consideration of Senate Bill No. 1660 calling for the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 29 was stalled due to “a technicality” raised by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
Sen.Juan Miguel Zubiri made this clear amid inquiries from barangay leaders concerning the status of the proposed measure postponing the twin polls to next year.
Zubiri said that he was prepared to defend the measure but Pimentel invoked Section 71 (b) of the Senate Rules dealing with “sponsorship by the committee chairman (of bills on second reading), or by any member designated by the committee.”
Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws, had asked Zubiri to sponsor SB 1660 last Monday before Gordon left for Geneva, Switzerland for the International Red Cross board meeting.
Zubiri said that he respects the will of the Upper Chamber to defer consideration of the measure as it began its four-week break yesterday. Congress will resume session on November 5.
He was prepared to sponsor the measure for second reading last Tuesday, explaining he was doing so as “a good soldier” requested by a senior colleague to undertake the task.
Pimentel then said that that was not the way to designate a sponsor of a measure on second reading as stipulated in Section 71 (b) of the Senate Rules and moved for the deferment of the consideration of SB 1660, which Sen. Francis Pangilinan, the majority leader, did not oppose.
Gordon was also ready to sponsor the measure last Monday but the number of signatures required for the committee report to be considered on second reading was met only after the session had already been adjourned.