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Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

Mr. Speaker, may I explain my negative vote?

The overriding issue before us transcends personal relationships and partisan motives. At stake are the state of the country and the prospect of a better economic growth.

Following are among the major reasons for my “No” vote:

This annual Bicameral Conference Committee on the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is not a mere ritual. It is an important and crucial legislative undertaking. What we are going to forge will 1) provide the budgetary anchor for government operations; 2) propel the implementation of priority programs and projects; and 3) define the parameters and directions of national policies with funding support.

Mr. Speaker and distinguished Members of this August Chamber:

We begin this morning the plenary deliberations on the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for the annual budget of Fiscal Year 2008. What we undertake is not to observe a mere ritual, but to discharge a constitutional mandate where the Congress, more particularly the House of Representatives, exercises primacy in the allocation of our constituents’ money.

Tomorrow, Thursday, 30 August 2007, families, relatives and friends of desaparecidos the world over will once again observe the International Day of the Disappeared.

On Thursday last week, 23 August 2007 at 1:11 in the afternoon, lawyers from the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) filed on behalf of surfaced desaparecidos Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, who escaped from their captors on 13 August 2007, an unprecedented petition for prohibition, injunction and temporary restraining order before the Supreme Court.

1. Viva voce voting for Speaker is a century old tradition of consistent transparency which dates back to 1907 when Sergio Osmeña, Sr. was elected Speaker of the Philippine Assembly.

Incidentally, viva voce comes from the Middle Latin meaning “with the living voice”.