The bill on Andray Blatche's naturalization is moving fast in the Congress but there is no drastic change in the senate.
Antipolo representative Robbie Puno is pleased with the 'record pace' that the naturalization bid of Andray Blatche is enjoying in the Lower House, but warned that it is still no slam-dunk that the NBA player will be available for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup.
Days after House Bill 4048 seeking Blatche's naturalization was passed on second reading, the bill's proponent said the the papers are on track to being approved on third and final reading just before Congress adjourns on March 14.
“Yes, we’re on target. In fact, I am optimistic that we can get this bill passed on the third reading on March 12,” said Puno. “Ito ang pinakamabilis na naturalization proceeding natin sa history of the Philippines if ever. Ang nangyari kasi dito, nag-usap lang kami ni coach Chot (Reyes) to file the bill last January 29 lang.”
Puno now hopes nobody will oppose the bill when it is delivered for the third reading, where it will be subjected to nominal voting (individual voting) among congressmen.
“Paspasan na ito. And I am hoping wala nang mag-o-oppose para matapos na natin ito. We’ve gone so far with this. Sayang kung di pa natin matuloy,” said the younger brother of former Press Secretary Dong Puno.
“Voting na 'yan. Every one of the congressmen present will be asked to vote on the bill and mukhang papasa naman 'yan, kasi hindi naman nagkaroon ng objection sa (House) Justice Committee or in the second reading,” said Puno.
However, the former PBA official is worried with the fact that the Senate version of the bill is hardly moving.
“Kailangan kasi ipasa ng Senate ang kanilang version for Andray Blatche. And what I found out, naka-file pa lang 'yung kanila. Hindi pa nakakalusot sa first reading,” said Puno of the Senate’s version of the bill authored by Sen. Sonny Angara.
“Baka medyo tumagal yung sa Senate,” said the Rizal solon.
Passing a Bill into a Law
Before a bill is passed into law, it has to go through three readings in both houses of Congress, where versions of the bill will be separately being deliberated.
Radyo ng Bayan house correspondent Thogs Naniong explained: “Bicameral kasi ang legislative set-up natin. Kaya ibig sabihin dapat dalawa (ang bill for a certain proposed law).
“Kung papasa sa tatlong reading yung dalawang bill, version ng house at version ng senado, tapos magba-bicameral conference sila para i-reconcile 'yung agreeing provisions nung dalawang bill. Yun 'yung pag-reconcile kung ano ang magkasalungat at magkapareho,” added the longtime Congress beat reporter.
Naniong warned that no matter how quickly Puno’s House version is approved, nothing will happen if its Senate counterpart is not moving.
“Kahit gaano kabilis 'yung kay Congressman Puno, kung hindi naman gumagalaw yung isa (Senate version), wala rin,” explained Naniong.
After the bill is approved by the lower and upper house, it will then be passed to the executive branch where President Aquino will have 100 days to decide on the bill.
Gilas is hoping Blatche will be available as a naturalized player by July 15, the deadline for the submission of lineups for the Fiba World Cup in Spain.
Puno assured he is burning the lines with his Senate counterparts trying to push the bill.
“Yes, I am doing that pero syempre I am not part of that process, Senate 'yun eh. Parang I am trying to shepherd the bill lang,” he said.
Puno, however, believes the bill can also get the needed support from the Senators, some of whom are certified Gilas Pilipinas supporters like Alan Peter Cayetano and Justice Committee chairman Koko Pimentel.
“Lagi ko sila nakikita nanonood ng Gilas, so I am optimistic tutulungan nila tayo,” said Puno. “Pinag-uusapan nga namin sa Justice Committee na this naturalization of Blatche, this is one of the very first naturalizations that is based on need. Pilipinas ang may kailangan."
It will be seen in the upcoming days if this bill will be pass and if unluckily it won't, Gilas Pilipinas will have Marcus Douthit as their lone naturalize player.
--- with reports from Spin.ph
Blatche' naturalization moving well in the Congress, but not in the Senate
Reviewed by Jay-R Bayon-on