Incoming neophyte members of the 18th Congress learned invaluable lessons about lawmaking from officials of the House Secretariat and former legislators during the second day of the Executive Course on Legislation for Batch 1.
Among the resource speakers were former representative and now Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, former Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo, former Majority Leader and comebacking Rep. Neptali Gonzales II, and Deputy Secretary General David Robert Amorin of the House Legislative Operations Department.
Nograles, also a former chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, discussed the passage of the annual General Appropriations Act or the Budget Process in the House, which he considered to be one of the most important mandates of the legislative body.
“The first item in your agenda would be the budget. Usually, ang nagiging patakaran ng Presidente is always to submit the budget early…Ito na yung baptism of fire ninyo,” the Palace official said.
He further took the opportunity to assure the new lawmakers that they will have an ally in Malacañang, who will work with them, when they assume office in July.
“May kaibigan po kayo sa Palasyo. Nandito po ako. So wag po kayong mag-alala, this will not be the last time that I will see you. When you begin your term, pag may mga pangangailangan po yung Palasyo, ako po’y lalapit din sa inyo. Ganun din, kung may mga pangangailangan kayo, don’t hesitate to call. I’ll be your friend in the Palace,” Nograles said.
“This will not be the last time that I will see you.”
For his part, Quimbo, who was also a former chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means during the 16th Congress, explained in detail the workings of the Legislative Committees and the significance of committee hearings in the enactment of proposed House Bills and Resolutions.
“Importante ang committee work, because the Plenary, where all the action is, may say that that’s really the theater for the drama, but in reality, real work is in the committee. The Plenary is not able to act with finality on any matter, unless it has come from the committee,” the outgoing legislator said.
“In reality, real work is in the committee.”
The seasoned lawmaker, however, said that the committee is unable to decide by itself but can make a recommendation, which will then be discussed and settled in the Plenary.
The attendees had the opportunity to join a mock committee meeting for them to have an idea on what takes place during the proceedings.
Quimbo also encouraged the incoming legislators to ensure that they build relationships with their colleagues within the House, including the employees of the House Secretariat.
Meanwhile, Gonzales and Amorin discussed the Parliamentary Rules and Regulations, and Legislative Ethical Accountability, respectively.
Gonzales urged the attendees to step up, saying that “If you want to participate in the Plenary discussion, seize the first opportunity…The House really is a deliberative body.”
Echoing his colleagues, he noted the weight of closely working with the House Secretariat.
“The success of any legislator is owed to the dedication of the members of the Secretariat—pakikisama,” Gonzales said.