Chamber of Deputies president Abel Martinez submitted the 2012 Budget to a vote on the grounds “that it had been already been amply discussed”. A video circulating on the Internet shows the moment Martinez pushed for a rapid vote to approve the budget in a second reading on Friday, 21 October. Reportedly, the budget contains illegalities in that some clauses require a two-thirds majority of those present at the session. The budget ended up being passed in less than 15 minutes.
Educacion Digna, the civil society group that is campaigning for the government to meet the 4% GDP for Education clause in the Education Law described it as “a show.”
During Sunday mass, the priest at Las Mercedes Church, Fr. Santiago Batista Guerrero, prayed for God to forgive the senators and deputies who passed the bill without even reading it.
The Council of Past Presidents of the Industrial Association of Herrera and the Province of Santo Domingo (AEIH) described the accelerated passing of the 2012 bill as “undignified and shameful,” as reported in El Nacional.
The bill was fast-tracked without public hearing or debates, and barely any opportunities for the deputies or senators themselves to discuss its contents.
Antonio Isa Conde, Cesar Nicolas Penson, Ernesto Vilalta, Ignacio Mendez, Jesus Moreno and Manuel Cabrera, speaking for the AEIH, said that the urgency of the deputies, stimulated by Chamber president Abel Martinez “was a blow to democracy, institutions and an ugly show that makes it clear that the deputies only represent themselves and the interests of their parties, as opposed to the people who elected them to office”.
On Saturday, Diario Libre’s editorialist dubbed Dominicans “ingenues” or gullible for expecting anything different from the legislators.