Incoming senator Dela Rosa eyes training on lawmaking

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2019   •   2569

Former Philippine National Police chief and incoming senator, General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, speaks before his supporters during the campaign period. (Photo: Bato Dela Rosa Facebook)

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is planning to attend seminars on crafting laws should he win a seat in the Senate.

First time candidate Dela Rosa is poised to become a senator with more than 18 million votes in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) partial, unofficial results of the 2019 midterm elections.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Dela Rosa said he is seeking to attend seminars on lawmaking as this is the very essence of his work as a legislator.

“Ewan ko kung meron bang seminar diyan, or ano bang training dyan para matutuhan ko kung paano gawin ‘yung ng batas, kung paano gawin ‘yung trabaho sa Senado. Kung merong ganon I’ll take that opportunity para matuto ako,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

(Is there a seminar for that or training where I could learn how to craft laws or about our work in the Senate? If there’s any, I’ll take that opportunity so I could learn.)

But he added that he will not attend the training if these will be held in the University of the Philippines because it was “anti-police” and “anti-military.”

Dela Rosa also said that he plans to consult reelectionist Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and JV Ejercito on the things that he needs to do to prepare for the job.

“Magtawag tawag ako kina Koko Pimentel, JV Ejercito kung ano ba talaga ang trabaho ng senador. What do I need to prepare para pagpasok ko, hindi na ito katawa-tawa,” he said.

(I will call Koko Pimentel and JV Ejercito to ask about the job of a senator, what I need to prepare so I won’t look ridiculous when I enter the Senate.)

Dela Rosa is currently ranking fifth in the top-12 winning circle with 18,339,919 votes based on partial, unofficial results from Comelec as of 5:10 a.m. Wednesday.

Pimentel is currently at 11th spot with 14,255,261 votes while Ejercito is outside the winning circle at the 13th place with 13,897,153 votes.

“Kaya nga malungkot ako. Magdasal na lang. Sana si JV makaakyat, si Koko ‘wag nang bumaba,” Dela Rosa said.

(That’s why I am sad. I’ll just pray. I hope JV’s ranking would go up and Koko’s wouldn’t go down.)

Senate OKs bill lowering height requirement for cops, other uniformed personnel

Robie de Guzman   •   September 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate bill seeking to lower the minimum height requirement for aspiring law enforcers has been approved on third and final reading.

Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1563 or the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Height Equality Act was approved with 23 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and zero abstention.

The proposed PNP, BFP, BJMP, and BuCor Height Equality law seeks to amend the minimum height requirement for male applicants to five feet and two inches from the current 5’3; and five feet tall from the current 5’2 requirement for females.

The measure also proposes to waive the height requirements for applicants belonging to the cultural communities or the indigenous people.

Senator Ronald dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and sponsor of the measure, said the approval of the bill would allow the PNP, BFP, BJMP and BuCor to accept applicants who have not been gifted with towering height.

“I still believe that sacrifice, dedication and service to the country cannot be measured by height nor by any physical characteristics given by the unseen hand of our Supreme Being,” Dela Rosa said in his explanatory note.

The Senator explained that given the required mandate of uniformed personnel, and for practicality in accomplishing tasks, there is still the need to retain a minimum height requirement for them to be able perform their duties and responsibilities exceptionally.

During his manifestation after the approval, Dela Rosa cited the late President Ramon Magsaysay’s credo: “He who has less in life should have more in law.”

Dela Rosa thanked his colleagues for supporting the measure.

The bill is in substitution of SBN 312 introduced by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Panfilo Lacson; SBN 405 filed by Sen. Francis Tolentino; and SBN 871 authored by Dela Rosa.

A counterpart bill in the House of Representatives remains pending.

Senate recommends forming committee to look into PhilHealth funds

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 4, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is recommending the formation of a committee that will look into the funds of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The Senator laments that even the Department of Finance cannot determine PhilHealth’s state in as fas as its budget is concerned due to the agency’s weak information system.

Drilon wants an Ad hoc committee composed of financial experts from the Social Security System (SSS), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and other insurance corporations that will verify PhilHealth’s financial status.

This is to determine how much subsidy the agency can provide for next year.

One of PhilHealth’s officials previously revealed that the agency’s reserve funds will not be enough if the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues. The official also revealed the agency will only last until 2022 which was questioned by several lawmakers.

“How much really does it need in order to continue its operation? Is P71 billion the correct amount? Is it more? Is it less? This [the committee] will also give us the opportunity to review how much should be due to our health system in general,” Drilon said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III supports this recommendation. Sotto agrees that there is a need to review PhilHealth’s financial situation.

“We suggested yesterday that there should be an urgent and extensive review and inspection of the corporation’s financial life,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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Senate probe will push through as PhilHealth chief requests for leave — Sotto

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 10, 2020

Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto assured that the probe on the alleged corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will push through amid the request of its president, Ricardo Morales, for a medical leave.

“It won’t stop our inquiry and other witnesses and testimonies from coming out. It won’t also stop the filing of charges against erring officials of PhilHealth if warranted,” he said.

Morales submitted his medical certificate stating that he cannot physically attend the Senate hearing due to his medical condition.

Meanwhile, the PhilHealth official lamented his privacy was not respected after his medical certificate was leaked to the public.

“As president and chief executive, it is my duty to represent the corporation while still physically capable. I regret that my privacy was not respected,” he said in a statement.

PhilHealth Executive Vice President and COO Arnel De Jesus also advised the Senate his inability to attend the said hearing due to a medical emergency. The Senate inquiry is scheduled for Tuesday (August 11).

Meanwhile, members of the Department of Information and Communications Technology will also attend the hearing to shed light on the issue of the alleged overpriced IT System budget of PhilHealth.

Sotto has also recommended putting the witnesses under the protection program of the Department of Justice. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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