Philippine Speaker: ‘Nothing unusual in new Camarines district’

Posted Oct 28, 2009 by Antonio Figueroa
Speaker Prospero C. Nograles in the Philippines declared yesterday that “there is nothing unusual or even unconstitutional” in the creation of a new legislative district in Camarines Sur, which was contained in the recently Republic Act 9716.
The statement came a day after Sen. Benigno Aquino III’s questioned the new law before the Supreme Court on the ground that the newly created congressional district does not comply with the 250,000 population requirement mandated by the 1987 Constitution.
Nograles, a bar topnotcher, explained that the new statute was enacted into law with the approval of the Senate and Sen. Aquino had all the time and opportunity to block the measure when it was still under deliberation, adding that he “should have fought tooth and nail to oppose the measure while it was still in the Senate instead of going to the Supreme Court.”
The Speaker also asked Sen. Aquino was questioning the judgment of his peers in the Senate who mostly belong to the opposition like himself, while at the same time invoke the principle of inter-chamber courtesy which should be considered, noting further that the new law went through the route, both in the House and in the Senate.
At the same time, he said there “must be due courtesy between the House of Representatives and the Senate,” noting that not an iota of opposition was registered during the series of public hearings in the House from parties in the affected area.
Geographically, the new Camarines Sur district is bigger than Camiguin, Biliran, or Guimaras, and even bigger than San Juan’s population when it was carved out as a separate district in 1995. Moreover, the new legislative territory with a population of about 176,000, is bigger than Batanes which has more or less than 20 thousand inhabitants.
Nograles also clarified that the claims made by Sen. Aquino, a presidential aspirant, that the re-districting of Camarines Sur was pursued to have room for the political plans of presidential son Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Arroyo is not only unfair but also patently inaccurate because he was elected as congressman even before the re-districting measure was even filed in Congress.