MANILA - Congress is unlikely to hold a special session even if President Rodrigo Duterte calls for it to tackle bills he certified as urgent, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday.
This as the legislature is set to adjourn on Friday, June 7, and the new Congress session opens on July 22.
"May (there is a) specific time frame from the [current] Congress to the next Congress... Hindi kami talaga puwedeng mag-extend (we cannot extend) more than June 7," said Sotto.
"It's a constitutional provision. Hindi basta makakatawag ang President ng (The President cannot just call for a) special session during the adjournment sine die. That will be a very questionable issue, debateng mahaba iyan (that's a long debate)," he added.
Duterte on Monday asked the Senate to immediately pass 3 bills, which he said were needed to spur the country's economic growth: amendments to the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act.
He also certified as urgent on Monday a bill requiring the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program for senior high school students.
"Pipilitin naming pigain ngayong araw na ito 'yung ROTC bill saka iyung Public Service Act and iyung Foreign Investment Act," said Sotto.
(We will try to squeeze in today the ROTC bill, the Public Service Act and the Foreign Investment Act.)
The measures, he said, could be approved through a "paper bicam" or if a chamber adopts its counterpart's version of the bill. Otherwise, the measures would have to be refiled under the incoming Congress.