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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

SOME congressmen don’t like the idea of adding 100 more seats in the House of Representatives in this era of the global financial crisis.

 

Atty. Dan Cartagena, who has been opposing the bid to create a second congressional district in Iloilo City, said he was able to talk to Rep. Jeanette Garin (1st district, Iloilo) who said she does not support the increase in House membership.

 

The proposal to increase House membership by 100 seats came to fore after the Senate committee on local government chaired by Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III did not act on several redistricting bills from the House.

 

The proposed redistricting of Iloilo City was filed by lone district Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr.

 

Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile then told the House leadership to file a measure to increase the number of seats in the House in order to accommodate the redistricting bills.

 

“It appears that not all representatives agree with the measure because of the economic crisis. We will be spending more than P10 billion just for the additional seats in the House. That money could be used to create jobs,” Cartagena said.

 

The plan to divide the city into two congressional districts is believed to be a ploy to avert a showdown between Gonzalez and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas over the lone congressional district.

 

Treñas is serving his last three-year term as mayor.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE national redistricting bill is nearing approval by Congress, according to a top Ilonggo official.

 

Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. said the Senate and House of Representatives are reconciling the two versions of the bill which will increase the number of congressmen in the country.

 

The House version, which was authored by Iloilo City Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr., proposes 50 additional seats while the Senate wants to add 100 seats.

 

If the bill is passed, the number of congressmen will increase from 238 to as much as 300.

 

Sec. Gonzalez, however, said that filling up the 100 additional seats in the House will depend on the country’s population.

 

The 1986 Constitution mandates that a congressional district should have a 250,000 population.

 

The DoJ chief said the redistricting bill is in keeping with the principle of taxation.

 

“The power to tax is the most potent power of the state. That’s why you need representation in order that taxation can be properly represented for the people,” he added.

 

The national redistricting bill came to fore after the Senate committee on local government headed by Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was flooded with numerous redistricting measures from Congress.

 

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile then suggested that the House lump the individual bills into a single measure to facilitate its passage.

 

Enrile had assured the Gonzalezes that the bill will be passed as soon as possible.

 

Rep. Gonzalez earlier filed a bill creating the second congressional district of Iloilo City.

 

The younger Gonzalez said the creation of the second district will fast track the development of the city as it will mean more pork barrel allocations.

 

But critics of Rep. Gonzalez’s redistricting bill said the city did not pass the 250,000 population requisite in the Constitution as the total population of the metropolis is only more than 418,000.

 

The bill was also seen as way to avert a political confrontation between the Gonzalezes and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas who will end his third 3-year term in 2010.

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