Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Senate adjourns 4 days ahead of Oct. 12 schedule

Senate adjourns 4 days ahead of Oct. 12 schedule
Gordon wanted debate on village poll postponement By Veronica Uy
Last updated 03:31pm (Mla time) 10/09/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- The Senate adjourned Tuesday, four days earlier than the October 12 schedule in the calendar of Congress.

The early break elicited a reaction from Senator Richard Gordon who said that he would have wanted a debate on his measure to suspend the barangay (village) and sangguniang kabataan (youth council) elections this October to May 2008.

Gordon said he wanted a postponement of the October 29 elections so that the automation of the polls might be pilot-tested in several places around the country.

Gordon referred the sponsorship of the measure to Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri last week when he, as chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, went to Geneva for a board meeting of the international humanitarian organization.

But on the objection of Senate Minority Floor Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., the measure was set aside, killing all possibility for such a postponement. Pimentel said Zubiri could not defend the bill on the Senate floor without the corresponding committee formally delegating it to him.

Gordon belied this, saying anyone assigned by the Senate committee chairman could sponsor any bill, although he pointed out that the majority floor leader should be able to sponsor any bill.

“What’s more important, the automation of the elections or the barangay elections?” he asked.

Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada presided over the session attended by Senate Majority Floor Leader Francis Pangilinan and Senators Joker Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III, and Panfilo Lacson.

Before this, the Senate suspended its session so that there would be no roll call this Tuesday. At least five senators, led by Senate President Manuel Villar, went to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Congress in Geneva. Those who went with him were Pimentel, Senators Pia Cayetano, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Loren Legarda.

Gordon conceded that the polls would push through this October 29. He said he would thus exert all effort so that the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in August 2008 would be fully automated.

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