No quorum, no laws
Iloilo Representatives Biron and Garin have hit back at the senators for the non-passage of a bill that would lower the costs of medicines. They have singled out Senator Mar Roxas, who co-authored the Senate version with Sen. Pia Cayetano, for having a weaker version than what these two illustrious intellectuals have produced.
The problem is that since Monday, the Lower House was unable to muster a quorum. Without a quorum, no new law could be passed, regardless of how strong or weak the measure is. Since Monday, the senators agreed that once the House passed their version of a cheaper medicines act on third reading, a bicam conference committee would immediately meet to reconcile both versions. It was a race against time, except the other party did not even bother to show up at the starting line. After this and other vital bills died, House Speaker Jose de Venecia issued his call for Charter change. The capacity of the Lower House to mock people’s intelligence and demolish our expectations of a fresh start is astounding.
If the congressmen and women only felt as strongly about the need to make medicines affordable and pay the Marcos’ human rights victims as their unabashed support and enthusiasm for Con-Ass or in extending the lifespan of the Pagcor Charter, then public trust in the Lower House could be regained.
But they did not show up – not even when it involved a bill that could prolong lives, and another one that would have recompensated those who suffered grave injustice. They showed up only for their centennial anniversary, to rub elbows with the President, to rejoice in being part of a chamber that has gone to pot. Woody Allen once said, 80% of success is in showing up. As citizens, we, as a matter of duty, always show up – for work, for school, for family affairs. We show up because we know that others are affected when we don’t.
How dare these representatives not to show up after a full cycle of salaries and trips, courtesy of Juan dela Cruz!
Which version of the medicines bill is better? Who cares! The people were shafted once more while the already wealthy pharma multinationals laugh their way to the bank.