MARTIAL LAW BRIEFING | House lawmakers to congregate as committee of the whole

May 29, 2017 - 8:49 PM
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HOR plenary hall
The House of Representatives plenary hall. PhilStar file photo

MANILA, Philippines – The briefing on the declaration of martial law in Mindanao will be held in executive session before all members of the House of Representatives sitting as a so-called committee of the whole.

Several legislators objected to the motion on this matter by Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, but they were defeated during voting.

The committee of the whole will convene on May 31, Wednesday at 9 a.m., Fariñas said.

Those invited to the session include Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Department Secretaries Vitaliano Aguirre II of Justice, Emmanuel Piñol of Agriculture, Mark Villar of Public Works and Highways, Silvestre Bello III of Labor and Employment, Delfin Lorenzana of National Defense, Paulyn Ubial of Health, Ramon Lopez of Trade and Industry, Judy Taguiwalo of Social Welfare and Development, Catalino Cuy (acting) of Interior and Local Government, Wanda Teo of Tourism, Arturo Tugade of Transportation, Alfonso Cusi of Energy, Rodolfo Salalima of Information and Communications Technology.

Also to attend were National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Mujiv Hataman, Supreme Court Administrator Midas Marquez and Commission on Human Rights chair Chito Gascon.

Reps. Edcel Lagman of Albay and Antonio Tinio of Bayan Muna partylist objected to the prospective executive session, and pushed instead for a joint session with the Senate. Their proposal, however, were defeated in the voting.

“This process of having a committee in executive session will deprive the public from knowing exactly the reasons, the cause of martial law declaration,” Lagman said.

Fariñas, however, countered, that the “delicate” information that security officials would be divulging to the House members, such as the courses of action on the ground, could not be disclosed in public.

Senators, for their part, briefed by the Cabinet secretaries on Monday, also done in executive session.