MANILA - Incoming Muntinlupa congressman Ruffy Biazon tops the list of early bird congressmen who intend to file bills at the very beginning of the 17th Congress.
Under House rules, the Bills and Index Service will begin accepting bills and resolutions from individual House members on July 4, 2016.
So far, 82 congressmen have manifested their intention to file bills and resolutions. The list includes both veteran and neophyte lawmakers.
Being the first to file a bill does not guarantee passage as these will depend on a lot of factors, including primarily which bills fit into the next administration's priority legislative agenda.
Biazon is followed on the list by the following veteran lawmakers: Reps. Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro),
Raul Del Mar (1st District, Cebu City),
Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City),
Alfred Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City),
Emmeline Aglipay-Villar (Party-list, DIWA),
Kaka Bag-ao (Lone District, Dinagat Island),
Antonio Tinio (Party-list, Act Teachers),
Alfredo Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental),
Bai Sandra Sema (1st District, Maguindanao and Cotabato City),
Angelina Tan (4th District, Quezon),
Gary Alejano (Party-list, Magdalo),
Teddy Baguilat (Lone District, Ifugao),
Romero Federico Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City),
Pedro Acharon, Jr. (1st District, South Cotabato),
Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Parañaque City),
Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, Ako Bikol),
Victoria Noel (Party-list, An Waray),
Ma. Lourdes Acosta-Alba (1st District, Bukidnon),
Joseph Stephen Paduano (Party-list, Abang Lingkod),
Arnel Ty (Party-list, LPGMA),
Jose Christopher Belmonte (6th District, Quezon City),
Josephine Ramirez-Sato (Lone District, Occidental Mindoro),
Eric Olivarez (1st District, Parañaque City),
Anthony Bravo (Party-list, COOP-NATCCO),
Frederick Abueg (2nd District, Palawan),
Linabelle Ruth Villarica (4th District, Bulacan),
Rogelio Neil Roque ( 4th District, Bukidnon),
Eric Singson (2nd District, Ilocos Sur),
Rodante Marcoleta (Party-list, Alagad),
Jorge Almonte (1st District, Misamis Occidental),
Bellaflor Angara-Castillo (Lone District, Aurora),
Gabriel Bordado, Jr. 3rd District, Camarines Sur),
Rogelio Espina (Lone District, Biliran),
Roy Loyola (5th District, Cavite),
Emi Calixto-Rubiano (Lone District, Pasay City),
Maximo Dalog (Lone District, Mountain Province),
Estrellita Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija),
Abdullah Dimaporo (2nd District, Lanao del Norte),
Seth Frederick Jalosjos (1st District, Zamboanga del Norte),
Gwendolyn Garcia (3rd District, Cebu),
Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan),
Xavier Jesus Romualdo (Lone District, Camiguin),
Carlos Isagani Zarate (Party-list, Bayan Muna),
Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abamin),
Maria Carmen Zamora (1st District, Compostela Valley),
Robert Ace Barbers (2nd District, Surigao del Norte),
Edcel Lagman (1st District, Albay),
Rosenda Ann Ocampo (6th District, Manila),
Jose Panganiban Jr. (Party-list, ANAC-IP),
Napoleon Dy (3rd District, Isabela),
Rodrigo Abellanosa (2nd District, Cebu City),
Tobias Tiangco (Lone District, Navotas City) and
Rose Marie Arenas (3rd District, Pangasinan).
Among the newcomers on the list are:
Reps. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga (2nd District, Compostela Valley),
Pia Juliana Cayetano (2nd District, Taguig City),
Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan),
Tricia Nicole Catera (Party-list, AMA),
Carlito Marquez (Lone District, Aklan),
Aniceto John Bertiz (Party-list, ACTS OFW),
Manuel Luis Lopez (1st District, Manila),
Micaela Violago (2nd District, Nueva Ecija),
Francisco Jose Matugas (1st District, Surigao del Norte),
Luis Raymond Villafuerte, Jr. (2nd District, Camarines Sur),
Greg Gasataya (Lone District, Bacolod City),
Michael John Duavit (1st District, Rizal),
Marquez Go (Lone District, Baguio City),
Michael Romero (Party-list 1-Pacman),
Eric Pineda (Party-list, 1-Pacman),
Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo (1st District, Lanao del Norte),
Dale Gonzalo Malapitan (1st District, Caloocan City),
Tomasito Villarin (Party-list, Akbayan),
Ariel Casilao (Party-list, Anakpawis),
Victor Yap (2nd District, Tarlac),
Geraldine Roman (1st District, Bataan),
Ramon Rocamora (Lone District, Siquijor),
Jose Enrique Garcia III (2nd District, Bataan),
Allen Jesse Mangaoang (Lone District, Kalinga),
Rogelio Pacquiao (Lone District, Sarangani) and
Harlin Neil Abayon III (Party-list, Aangat Tayo).
A queue of chairs bearing the names of lawmakers, who intend to file bills and resolutions, has been in place at the south wing lobby of the House of the Representatives since about three weeks ago.
In a statement released by the HoR, Terence Grana, chief of the Indexing and Monitoring Group of the Bills and Index Service, said the lawmakers' staff members have agreed among themselves that for the initial round of filing, each lawmaker can submit five bills and two resolutions. The lawmakers can then file additional measures thereafter.
"The standing procedure in the filing of bills and resolutions is first-come, first-served. Queuing for the filing of bills is not sanctioned by us. It was an arrangement made by the lawmakers' staff members among themselves," said Grana.
Many returning lawmakers had vowed to re-file worthy proposals that did not make it in the 16th Congress mainly due to material lack of time. These include proposals about income tax reform, public order and security, better national and local governance, wage hike, conditional cash transfer institutionalization, better health and other social services, among others.
For his part, Re-elected Ifugao Representative Teddy Brawner Baguilat has vowed to continue the struggle to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, making it among the first legislative measures that he will file as soon as the 17th Congress begins its work in July.
Baguilat was elated that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte himself saw the importance of having FOI. Duterte earlier said he will issue an Executive Order on Freedom of Information as soon as he assumes office, so that citizens will have access to government information that they need to make sure that the government truly works in their behalf.
Baguilat, however, believes that having an actual FOI law will carry more weight than an executive order, thus his commitment to continue his unfinished work in the 17th Congress.
The FOI bill seeks to implement the citizens' right to information on matters of public concern guaranteed under the Constitution. It also seeks to implement the state policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest, as defined by the Constitution.
Separately, Rep. Winston Castelo, Outgoing Chair of the Committee on Metro Manila Development, backed the granting of emergency power to President-elect Duterte to solve the traffic gridlock in the metropolis.
"In my stint as the chair of the Metro Manila Development committee for 3 years, I submit the emergency power is key to once and for all resolve this chronic metro traffic deadlock," Castelo said.
"For this purpose, I have instructed my legislative staff to draft our own version of the bill to ensure that transparency and accountability are airtight," he said.