Outgoing senators reveal plans after Senate

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2019   •   10169

Upper row: (L-R ) Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino, Francis Escudero Lower row: (L-R) Senators Gringo Honasan, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Loren Legarda

MANILA, Philippines – Six senators of the 17th Congress are soon to leave the Senate.

Senators Francis Escudero, Gringo Honasan, Loren Legarda and Antonio Trillanes IV have until June 30 to serve their last term.

Senators Bam Aquino and Joseph Victor Ejercito, meanwhile, needed to leave following their defeat in the 2019 midterm polls.

Escudero may be leaving the Senate but he remains in public office after winning as governor of Sorsogon.

Legarda, likewise, is shifting to local governance after being proclaimed as the new representative of Antique.

For his part, Honasan said he is still hoping for President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of him as head of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

“It’s up in the air. That will be decided after June 30 by the appointing authority,” Honasan said.

Meanwhile, Senators Aquino and Ejercito said that their next plan to enjoy their private lives with their respective families.

“Ngayon ang ating destiny ay maiba hindi man magpatuloy dito. I guess na mahalaga right now just to take steps back. Spend more time with your kids and try to determine how to help the country in other ways,” Aquino said.

“Maraming paraan para tumulong sa ating bayan,” he added.

“Tulungan ko muna ang wife ko sa mga businesses naming,” Ejercito said when asked about his plans following his exit from Senate.

He admitted, however, that he regretted the outcome of running against his brother Jinggoy Estrada.

“Ang regrets ko…ang pinakamabigat kong problema yung dalawa kaming magkapatid na tumakbo,” Ejercito said.

“Sana kinausap ko na lang. Nag-usap kami ng father ko, ng pamilya na nasabi ko na sana ang aking concern. Ilang beses ko sinabi na ito ang mangyayari na pwede kaming mahila lahat pababa. Exactly ito  na nga ang nangyari,” he added.

Trillanes, meanwhile, said he is thinking of going back to school.

The controversial senator earlier said he will remain critical of the Duterte administration even outside of Senate. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

Senate OKs bill seeking to extend validity of firearms licenses

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 10, 2019

(FILE) Filipinos look at Beretta pistols displayed for sale at a gun exhibition in Mandaluyong City, east of Manila, Philippines, 16 November 2017. EPA-EFE/EUGENIO LORETO

The Senate, on Monday (December 9), has passed a bill for third and final reading, seeking to extend the validity of firearms licenses from two years to five years.

With 20 votes in favor, zero against and zero abstention, the Senate passed Senate Bill No. 1155 which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 10591 or the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act”.

Under the measure, the registration of a firearm shall be renewed every five years from the birth date of the licensee.

“Failure to renew the registration of the firearm on or before the date of its expiration shall cause the revocation of the license. The said firearm shall be confiscated or forfeited in favor of the government after due process,” according to the bill.

During his sponsorship speech, Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa said that a lack of practical renewal policies hinders gun owners from renewing their firearms.

“In a country like ours, gun ownership is a privilege that is hidden behind numerous documentary requirements and countless conditions that must be met; then and only then can one avail of such privilege,” he said.

“We are for the promotion of safety measures. We are for the protection of our people. But surely, and that is what this bill ensures, it would be better if it would not take a mountain of work for us to do so,” he added.—AAC

Senate to discuss bills seeking to create water agency

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The proposed measures seeking to establish a central water agency that would focus on water, sewerage and sanitation are set to be discussed at the Senate on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

The hearing will be jointly conducted by the Senate committees on public services, civil service, government reorganization and professional regulation, ways and means and finance.

“We need a lead agency whose ultimate responsibility would be the provision of adequate and safe water supply, not just for household and commercial needs, but for our farms,” Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the committee on public services said in a statement.

“What we currently have is a fragmented regulatory framework for water that has limited powers, which has a significant impact on the delivery of water and sanitation services in the country,” she added.

The hearing will tackle the eight bills seeking the creation of a water agency that are pending before the committee. These were filed by Poe, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Lito Lapid and Ramon Revilla Jr.

It will also discuss the three bills proposing the creation of a Department of Water Resources Management filed by Senators Manny Pacquiao, Francis Tolentino and Ronald Dela Rosa.

Poe said the hearing will also offer an opportunity to discuss questions about the government contracts with water concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier slammed the water firms for the alleged ‘onerous’ provisions in their concession agreements which were signed with the government in 1997.

The lawmaker expressed optimism that the Senate can pass its version of the water agency bill soon, emphasizing that the water bill is among the President’s list of priority legislature.

“We want assurance of the people’s right to clean and steady supply of water,” she said.

Senate adopts resolution honoring hero cop in Misamis school blast

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday adopted a resolution commending Police Senior Master Sergeant Jason Magno for his selfless act of sacrificing his life to shield others from a grenade blast in a school in Misamis Oriental last week.  

Senate Resolution No. 229, introduced by Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Panfilo Lacson and Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, lauded Magno for his extraordinary bravery and heroism to save the lives of others at the cost of his own.

“The Senate honors and commend the late Police Senior Master Sergeant Jason Janog Magno for his extraordinary bravery, heroism and instinct to protect and save the lives of his fellow men at the cost of his own going beyond his sworn duty to serve and to protect,” it said.

Magno, a police explosive ordnance disposal specialist, died last Nov. 28 after he and his partner, Senior Master Sergeant Alice Balido, responded to complaints of a man causing trouble inside a school in Initao town.

The man, identified as 65-year old Ebrahim Ampaso Basher, was carrying a hand grenade while walking around the school.

Basher threw the grenade when he was confronted by police officers.

Magno then dropped down and covered the grenade with his own body to save innocent civilians around, while his partner, shot the suspect resulting in his death.

Balido and some 10 students were injured in the incident.

President Rodrigo Duterte posthumously conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kalasag, and the PNP Medal of Valor to Magno. The president also presented the Order of Lapu-Lapu Magalong Medal to the family of Magno.

“The selfless act of Police Master Sergeant Jason Magno should be emulated and recognized not only by the Philippine National Police but by the entire country,” the resolution stated.

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