Cabinet secretaries told: Attend hearings on Duterte priority bills

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2017 01:49 PM

MANILA - House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas reiterated an earlier call by the Lower House for Cabinet members to be present for congressional hearings on President Rodrigo Duterte's proposed bills.

Farinas made the reiteration during a Justice subcommittee hearing on the bills lowering the age of criminal responsibility, when he noticed no Cabinet-level official was present.

"Nakikita ko wala rin si Vit Aguirre. Alam po ba nito na itong bill na ito ay kay Presidente? Ito, hiningi niya po sa amin yan kaya finile namin yan. Then di pupunta," he said.

"We filed this bill because the President wants it, then his alter egos cannot come here. Pakita niyo naman po, kasi sasabihin ng mga ganiyan sa kongreso eh yung mga katunggali namin, sasabihin nila na di naman importante yan eh di pumupunta," he added.

"Kailangan po pakita niyo kasi ito po ay bill ni Presidente. Yun lang po point niyo. In fact, I thought we were voting tayo kasi para maintidihan niyo may resistance din diyan."

Aguirre was absent reportedly due to a prior engagement. 

Meanwhile, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has been against the bill on lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Farinas said the House is merely heeding the wishes of the executive. 

"Parang sa death penalty. Dati, andiyan naman yan. Nawala because of the Constitution, tinabi. Binalik ni FVR, inalis ni GMA. Eh gusto ngayon ni Digong ibalik. Siyempre pinapakinggan namin yung presidente," he said.

"Mahirapan ho kami pag di buo yung executive pakita yung pagpapaliwanag yung suporta," he added.

Previously, the Ways and Means committee also required the presence of Finance officials when their proposed tax reform package went through the legislative mill.