Adjournment Message of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.
House of Representatives
Quezon City
23 March 2011 

Colleagues, house officials and personnel, ladies and gentlemen --

This chamber is burdened with heavy duties. Constitutionally, we are mandated not only to enact laws, consistent with our powers of legislation, but also to hold accountable public officers to the standards of utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. Politically, we are now called to rebuild trust in our institutions, founded upon the tenets of democracy and justice. Socially, we are beckoned to salvage our people from years of dehumanizing poverty, and to lead the country to an age of prosperity.

No legislature in recent history has been put in a maelstrom of this magnitude too soon.

Perhaps because there hasn't been a legislature installed and assembled under the same historic circumstances under which the present House of Representatives was formed. 

Our house today emerged from the first ever automated elections, the credibility of which is beyond doubt. It comprises of 284 men and women, a number unprecedented in the history of this Congress. It operates and works on the crest of great optimism and hope, made manifest in the positive 33% rating we obtained in the last Social Weather Stations Survey, and the 39% trust rating this House obtained in the yet unreleased and latest Pulse Asia survey.

These circumstances -- unparalleled in the past quarter of a century -- place this House under intense scrutiny and under extreme pressure to deliver.

I am pleased to note that in the less than eight months since our constitution, this chamber has neither blinked nor failed.

In the past 66 days, we approved 798 bills and resolutions, or an average of more than 12 measures per session day. Of this number, thirty (30) local bills, and thirty nine (39) national bills were already passed on third reading. This includes important measures such as the Data Privacy Act, the Act Prescribing a Fixed Term for the AFP Chief of Staff, the Act Integrating Kindergarten Education into the Basic Education System, and the proposed law postponing the ARMM Elections. Meanwhile, fifteen (15) national bills and twenty four (24) local bills were approved on second reading. We have also adopted 106 regular resolutions, and 576 resolutions on inquiries, including those on matters that have scandalized and disturbed the conscience of our people. And for the first time ever, we completed an impeachment proceeding against the Ombudsman for her acts deemed in betrayal of the trust reposed upon her by the public, and in violation of her constitutional duties. I am proud to declare that at all times - and despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of us - at 212 members - voted in favour of this impeachment - this historic proceeding ensued with caution, and always in conformity with the strict requirements of constitutional due process. 

That we have accomplished this much despite the sensitivity of the subjects we deliberated on, and in so short a time, is testament to the maturity of our members, their willingness to engage in quality and principled debate, and their refusal to debase our proceedings into purely partisan or personality contests. It is also proof that democracy, which we have assiduously promoted, has again taken root and governs the proceedings of this chamber. 

This feat I also attribute to the commitment of each member of this chamber to fulfil their oath of duty, manifest in the record-breaking attendance - at an average of 93.83% from July 2010 to this month - which we have sustained. 

Indeed, we are navigating a political transition like no other. This transition does not involve a simple transfer of power between individuals or parties. On the contrary, it encompasses an overhaul of our political value system, and the way we govern and are in turn governed.

I am proud to state that the performance of this chamber thus far demonstrates our fidelity to the people's overwhelming demand for change, and for better government. And for this, I only have all of you - both members of the majority and minority - to thank.

We thus adjourn today pleased of our present accomplishment, and convinced that we are doing right.

Thank you and a pleasant evening to us all!