What ought to have been an ordinary process to shut the debates for a invoice on vaporized nicotine merchandise within the Senate become a 38-minute slugfest between Senator Pia Cayetano and Senate Majority Chief Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Throughout the plenary session on Tuesday, November 9, Cayetano bought upset after she presumed that the Senate would prioritize deliberations on Senate Invoice (SB) No. 2239 over the sponsorship for plenary approval of the proposed P5.024-trillion price range in 2022.
Cayetano has a stake in each measures: She nonetheless wished to lift questions on SB 2239 to invoice sponsor Senate President Professional Tempore Ralph Recto. She was additionally set to co-sponsor the 2022 price range within the plenary.
Within the plenary agenda, the continuation of interpellations for SB 2239 was certainly listed first earlier than the sponsorship of the 2022 price range.
However the understanding between Zubiri and Recto was that the latter would simply make a movement to finish the interval of debates, then the Senate would transfer on to different issues within the agenda.
The interval of amendments for the vape merchandise invoice – a time when senators can proceed elevating questions over spefic provisions and alter them – could be continued as soon as the 2022 price range is handed someday in late November.
Cayetano later admitted she was not capable of see the agenda as she was busy getting ready her speech for the 2022 price range.
She first bought upset when Recto manifested on the ground that he wished to make a movement to finish the interval of debates for SB 2239.
Cayetano argued that it shouldn’t be terminated as she wished to ask extra questions relating to the jurisdiction of the Meals and Drug Administration, the age of those that could be allowed to make use of the merchandise, and the variety of vape flavors to be allowed by the federal government.
“So let’s take due time and discuss this…. We are not preventing the industry from selling at this time, but don’t rush this representation when there are valid issues to be settled,” mentioned Cayetano.
Zubiri then clarified that they solely meant to shut the interval of interpellation on SB 2239. He then identified that Cayetano’s pending questions for Recto concerned particular provisions of the invoice, which she will be able to nonetheless increase throughout the interval of amendments.
Zubiri then denied that he was fasttracking the passage of SB 2239. Cayetano was additional ticked off when he mentioned thad the invoice has been “languishing” for 4 months within the plenary.
“Nag-delay ba ko ever (Did I ever delay)? I take offense that you make it appear that I’m hogging – languishing for four months. Come on! Many of you have defended your bills for a year, for 18 months, 24 months, and a tobacco bill is pending for four months,” mentioned a visibly irked Cayetano.
“If you accuse me of delaying and I have interpellated once and you are amending a major bill of this Congress, ‘wag naman. Maayos naman ako kausap (Don’t be like that. I’m reasonable to talk to),” she added.
Zubiri replied, “I apologize if the lady senator thinks of it that way.”
He then reiterated that Recto had requested to permit him to make a movement to shut the interval of debates for SB 2239, so Cayetano’s anger ought to be directed at Recto, not him.
“We did not make the motion yet on the floor. He just requested. I have not moved, I have not acted on the motion, so I do not know why the hail and brimstone is falling on to me today,” mentioned Zubiri.
In an obvious effort to defuse the stress, Senate Minority Chief Franklin Drilon jumped in and prompt that the interval of debates for SB 2239 be suspended for now and resumed as soon as the 2022 price range is handed by November 22.
Drilon even joked: “I want to see harmony among our colleagues. Otherwise, I would enjoy as a Minority Leader seeing my colleagues in the majority fighting each other.”
This appeared to have labored, as Senate President Vicente Sotto III mentioned the alternate between Cayetano and Zubiri was not a combat however a “healthy debate.” Recto additionally mentioned that it’s within the custom of the Senate to search for compromises.
After the stress eased throughout the session, Cayetano provided peace to Zubiri, however famous that she resented what to her appeared like his insinuation that she was delaying the passage of the vape merchandise invoice.
“Let me do the right thing. Mr. President, kindly relay to the Majority Floor Leader that I always trusted him and I simply was and again – I don’t have the English word – nagtampo lang po ako na may mga nabitawan siyang salita na parang ako ho ‘yung nagde-delay (I just resented that he said some words that seemed to imply that I was the one delaying),” mentioned Cayetano.
The heated dialogue ended with senators agreeing to only droop the interval of debates for SB 2239 for now. – Rappler.com