How RA 11928 became a law

How could a lousy phraseology — “as if the President had signed” — could even gather intellectual adherents?

How can RA 11928, aka the “Separate Facility for Heinous Crimes Act,” be a valid voucher for three crime facilities when the bill-drafting rule is that, no other substantive provision should be stated elsewhere than in the title itself? In abridged form, said title reads — “An Act Establishing a Separate Facility …and Appropriating Funds Therefor.”

Rather craftily drafted, Section 5 of RA 11928 constitutes a “rider,” fait accompli; the terms “facility” and “facilities” deftly juxtaposed illustrate a sneaky subterfuge to navigate larger “appropriations therefor”; stating streetwise — “there shall be at least three separate facilities… with one facility each in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.”

In RA 11928, a rubber-stamp proviso reads, “Lapsed into law on 30 July 2022 without the signature of the President, in accordance with Article VI, Section 27 (1) of the Constitution.” The referenced constitutional basis more accurately reads, viz: “The President shall communicate his veto of any bill to the House where it originated within thirty days after the date of receipt thereof, otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it”.

Note that by origin, RA 11928 is passed by the 18th Congress as Senate Bill 1055 and House Bill 10355 on 31 May 2022 and 30 May 2022, respectively. It could not have lapsed into law on 30 July or beyond then Du30’s last day in office on 30 June. Reckoning a 30 plus one day prior, why will then Congress forward the bill on 29 June — on the eve of Du30’s end of duty?

There’s no way the 18th Congress bill could breach the constitutional time wall for it to lapse into law on 30 July 2022. Since the 19th Congress and the 17th President both began their official term of office only on 30 June 2022, not a day prior — it henceforth becomes ambiguous for an 18th Congress bill to acquire the status of a law on dubious applicability or doubtful origin.

Arguably, since it’s neither a vetoed bill by Du30, the 18th Congress also finds no ground to override what is not a presidential veto. What can be deduced is that somewhere in time, the bill is kept at bay — no signature, no approval, no override — until the lapse of thirty days. But where did it hold court?

On whose term, time horizon, and jurisdiction does RA 11928 fall so whoever that President could be the one to declare that subject bill became a law? Are there other governing rules unseen on the radar or outside of established parameters?

It makes sense to argue that there may have been a day left to save the 18th Congress bill from extinction — deemed “expired” on 30 June — so an “invisible hand” perfidiously moved the goalposts. It’s like ordering a dish of oysters in a restaurant hoping to find a pearl to foot the bill.

Which Congress or whose presidency has given legal birth to RA 11928 as a law without introducing a grand paradox? How it can even callously carve out a larger berth in the government finance wharf escapes understanding.

If funding three state-of-the-art crime facilities with tens of billions out of taxpayers’ money in one deceptive stroke isn’t “anomalous,” what is? Has it ceased to be unequivocally important to timeline how the 30 days have lapsed and fallen under whose watch — in order to lend credence to a law of uncertain validity?

Knowing how many more bills have forthwith become laws after a lapse of thirty days poses an interesting challenge to future research. How could a lousy phraseology — “as if the President had signed” — could even gather intellectual adherents?

How dangerous policymaking could get if its purpose is to reduce taxpayers’ money as a wanton giveaway? Standing on a “fault line” and as crucial as its implications are, this “mutant specimen” of law and experimentation in “legislative malpractice” cannot find acceptance among public intellectuals.

No bill lapses into law incongruous with the prescribed origin and constitutional time.


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