Lagman slams House railroading of ‘carbon copy’ of Bong Go’s Malasakit bill


Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Thursday slammed the “railroading” of the bill to institutionalize Malasakit Centers in hospitals nationwide, expressing dismay that it was a carbon copy of the version authored by Sen. Bong Go.

“It is bad enough when a bill is approved by a tyranny of numbers over the ascendancy of reason, but it is worse when a bill is deemed approved by a paucity of numbers in derogation of parliamentary rules,” the Liberal Party lawmaker said.

“The latter dismal scenario happened again yesterday, November 13, 2019, when the approval on second reading of the Malasakit substitute bill to HB No. 5477 was railroaded with only a handful of Representatives present in the Plenary,” Lagman said.

“It turned out that the substitute bill was a carbon copy of Senate Bill No. 1076 authored by Senator Cristopher ‘Bong Go’ which was previously approved on November 11, 2019 by the Senate,” he lamented.

The copycat version, according to Lagman, “was the direct aftermath of Go’s importuning for the House leadership to cause the approval of a version completely identical to his Malasakit bill in order to preclude a bicameral conference committee.”

Not even Rep. Angelina Tan, the chair of the committee on health, was given an advance copy of the substitute bill, he said.

“Moreover, the substitute bill was neither submitted to nor approved by the sponsoring health committee,” Lagman said.

The House on Wednesday approved House Bill 5477, or the proposed “Malasakit Program Act.”

The Malasakit Center is a brainchild of Go and meant to serve as a one-stop shop for patients needing financial assistance not covered by PhilHealth.