Solon protests last minute scrapping of Senate hearing on House-led Cha-cha

RG Cruz and Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2023 08:28 PM

MANILA -- Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Monday expressed disappointment over the "last minute" cancellation of a Senate hearing on Charter change (Cha-cha), supposedly without any explanation. 

“After inviting me last March 14, I received last night a notice of cancellation from the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes,” he said in a statement.

According to Sen. Robin Padilla, chair of the panel, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri asked for an executive session instead.

In a separate news briefing, Zubiri pointed out that their House counterparts should not be invited as “resource persons” as part of the interparliamentary courtesy.

Zubiri said he advised Padilla to defer holding the hearing to also protect his position as panel chairperson.

“Being a neophyte Senator, the Chair of the Committee may not yet be fully abreast with the traditions and practices of both Chambers. But this tradition is to protect him and his committee as well, as we want to avoid a scenario in which conflicting opinions and heated arguments may take place, putting the Chairperson in a bind, particularly on how to rule on such discussions,” Zubiri told journalists.

Rodriguez then appealed to other senators to listen to what congressmen would way.

“I wish members of the Senate would listen to what the [House members] are pushing for. I just want to be fair. I don’t want the House to think that I prevented their efforts,” Rodriguez said.

Meanwhile, Padilla said he acknowledges Rodriguez’s “disappointment” over their cancelled hearing. 

“Kung ang ating mahal na idolo ay disappointed, ako naman po’y malungkot. Pareho lang po kaming may pinagdadaanan… gusto po talaga nating maging resource persons yung committee nila… malungkot ako na hindi natuloy, kasi gusto ko talaga magkabakbakan eh. Eto na talaga yung inaantay ko,” Padilla said.

Zubiri explained that the holding of an executive session also aims not to grandstand on Cha-cha discussion before the public.

The executive session will also be the venue for both parties to determine the chances of Cha-cha in the Senate and the House of Representatives.