Having proposed bills approved in Congress is and has always been a numbers game.
Majority votes by members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are always needed for a bill to pass and get enacted.
But just how long does it take to have a bill approved in Congress?
There are 12 steps to take to get thru the legislative process.
- Preparation of the Bill
- First Reading
- Committee Consideration / Action
- Second Reading
- Third Reading
- Transmittal of the Approved Bill to the Senate / House
- Senate /House action on the approved Bill
- Conference Committee
- Transmittal of the Bills to the President
- Presidential Action of the Bill
- Action on Approved Bill
- Action on Vetoed Bill
For a bill that is not so urgent, it usually takes one and a half to two years before it gets approved in Congress, especially when there is no one is opposed to it.
The annual proposed budget, on the other hand, has a prescribed time frame of six months for it to get thru the process and get approved.
The President, however, always has the power to expedite the process by having a bill certified as urgent.
Just like what then-President Benigno Aquino III did when he certified the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan elections as urgent in the 16th Congress.
It only took less than one month from the time it was filed until President Aquino signed the law.
On the other hand, some proposed laws do have early demise in Congress.
Two versions of the Anti-Political Dynasty bill could hardly get to move from the committee level.
With the opening of the 18th Congress with its new composition, the Super Majority composed of presidential allies is deemed to get even stronger.
Is this a prelude to a speedier passage of bills that are within the agenda of the administration?
For political analyst Ramon Casiple, this will make things easier for the government, pointing out that this has already happened even at the start of the Duterte administration with the Super Majority in the lower house.
Making things comfortable for the administration was the fact that the President’s allies have also dominated the Senate.
However, with all these things, one bill is still pending in both houses of Congress – the bill that seeks the changing of the form of government to Federalism.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubirri, nevertheless, assured that the Super Majority is not going to be a big issue in the Senate, so as not to affect the sensitive bill.
“The Senate is not just a working Senate but a thinking Senate, we need to have long hard discussions on this issues, hindi lang basta basta hook, line and sinker, ipapasa natin ang mga measures na itong mga measures na ito, dahil malaking implications, kung magkamali tayo sa Federalism, it can cause the bankruptcy of our country,” Zubirri said. (with reports from Nel Manibojoc) /mbmf
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