Parliamentary Inquiry on Committee Report No. 368

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Mr. President, this is just a parliamentary inquiry.  Last April 30, 2018, Committee Report No. 368 on Dengvaxia was filed by the Blue Ribbon Committee jointly with the Committee on Health and Demography, and Committee on Finance. On its face, out of the 22 members of the three committees, 14 signed the report. 

However, upon the perusal of the report, particularly its signature page and its various attachments, this Representation noticed that some members of the three committees signed the report with concurring and dissenting votes. In addition, Mr. President, some senators signed with reservations, while Senators Drilon and de Lima, joined by their colleagues in the minority, filed their separate dissenting opinions. Others or at least this representation did not sign.

I have a couple of issues to raise for the Committee on Rules to resolve. First, may I inquire on the number of signatures needed in support of the committee report for it to be filed with the Bills and Index Division and considered for floor deliberation? Are those signing with concurring and dissenting opinions counted in determining the majority? How about those signing with reservations?

The second issue, Mr. President, is in cases where several committees are conducting inquiry in aid of legislation involving certain issues, assuming that the primary committee prepares the report: is the majority requirement for purposes of filing and consideration by the Senate on a per committee-basis or all the members of the different committees lumped together?

To illustrate, Mr. President, for the Blue Ribbon Committee consisting of 20 members (with one vacancy left by our former colleague Sen. Cayetano), it appears that seven members signed and concurred in the report: Senators Gordon, Ejercito, Honasan, Pacquiao, Zubiri, Sotto and Villar; two signed with reservations; four signed with concurring and dissenting votes and one dissenting vote as I said joined by his colleagues in the minority.

With respect to the Committee on Health and Demography, Mr. President, with 14 members, it appears that five members signed and concurred in the report; four signed with concurring and dissenting votes; two dissenting votes; and three did not sign the report.

In the Finance Committee with 20 members, it appears that seven members signed and concurred in the report; two signed with reservations; four signed with concurring and dissenting votes, etc.

Now may I point out Mr. President, Section 22 of Resolution Number 5, otherwise known as the Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation adopted by the Senate on August 9, 2010, and which was published on August 19, 2016. I would just read the portion that is relevant to the issue at hand.

It says here, Sec. 22, Report of Committee. The report shall be approved by a majority vote of all its members. Concurring and dissenting reports may likewise be made by the members who do not sign the majority report within 72 hours from the approval of the report. The number of members who sign reports concurring in the conclusions of the Committee Report shall be taken into account in determining whether the report has been approved by a majority of the members:  Provided, and I’d like to highlight, that the vote of a member who submits both a concurring and dissenting opinion shall not be considered as part of the majority unless he expressly indicates his vote for the majority decision.

Mr. President, in view of the said provision, may this representation be informed whether the required majority was obtained for us to consider Committee Report No. 368? This doesn’t need our immediate response from the Majority Leader.

Therefore I move that Committee Report No. 368 be referred in the meantime to the Committee on Rules for discussion and resolution, Mr. President. I so move, Mr. President.