Veteran senators to guide new colleagues in Senate

Marje Pelayo   •   May 16, 2019   •   1408

UNTV File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III said on Wednesday (May 15) that veteran senators are willing to guide their new colleagues once they assume office.

Sotto added that the Senate Secretariat is always ready to assist the new senators.

“Anytime upon request or instruction, as they always do every time there is a new member of the Senate,” the Senate president said.

This came after former PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa, one of the leading senatorial candidates in the ongoing canvassing of the 2019 midterm polls, admitted in an interview that he needs a training or a crash course in lawmaking.

“Mayroon bang seminar diyan o ano bang training diyan para matutunan ko kung paano gawin ang batas? Ano ba ang mga trabaho namin diyan sa Senado? Kung mayroong ganun, I will take that opportunity para matuto ako,” Dela Rosa said on Tuesday.

(Is there a seminar or a training where I can learn how to craft laws? What does our job in the Senate involve? If there are [seminars] I will take the opportunity to learn.)

In reaction to Dela Rosa’s statement, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the incoming senator need not worry as his veteran colleagues are willing to give them pieces of advice on how to do their work in the Upper House.

Lacson, also a former PNP Chief, was Dela Rosa’s upperclassman in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

Lacson is a member of the PMA Class of 1971 while Dela Rosa belongs to PMA Class of 1986. – Marje Pelayo

Lacson tells DICT to aim for faster PH internet speed

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security, on Thursday urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to aim for an “excellent” speed of internet connection.

Lacson made the remark in response to the view of DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II that the Philippines “is not doing too badly” in terms of internet speed performance during his agency’s 2021 budget hearing in Congress.

“With all due respect to a highly regarded Cavalier and distinguished former Senate colleague, “not so bad” may sound worse than ‘not so good,’” he said in a statement.

Honasan earlier said that while other countries have 55 megabytes per second (mbps) internet speeds, the 3 to 7mbps internet speed in the country “is not that bad” amid complaints over slow speed.

“In the middle of a pandemic when the order of the day is virtual communication, what we want to hear, at least realistically, is ‘good enough,’” Lacson said.

“Of course, it goes without saying, ‘very good’ or even ‘excellent’ is what we all want to hear from DICT. Clearly, there is much room for improvement,” he added.

According to the DICT, the country’s current internet speed could reach up to 25.07mbps, compared to the maximum 7.91mbps in 2016.

The agency said the country’s slower internet connection is due to lack of telecommunications infrastructure compared to other countries that have fix broadbands which require lots of telecommunication towers and fiber optic cables.

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.

Bato, Pacquiao support reimposition of death penalty for heinous crimes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 30, 2020

Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Manny Pacquiao reiterated their support for the reimposition of death penalty for heinous crimes.

During Senate’s regular session on Wednesday (July 29), Pacquiao said reinstating death penalty in the country will not be illegal in the eyes of God.

The Senator previously filed a bill that would impose death penalty on heinous crimes which include manufacturing and trafficking dangerous drugs.

Hindi po labag sa mata ng gobyerno, sa mata ng Panginoon. Dahil biblically po, allowed po ang gobyerno (It is not illegal in the eyes of the government, in the eyes of the Lord. Because, biblically, the government is allowed to do so) the authority, which is established by God to impose heinous crimes especially death penalty,” Pacquiao said.

Meanwhile, during his privilege speech, Dela Rosa reiterated that reimposing death penalty would be the solution in stopping drug lords and the continuing drug activities inside detention facilities.

The Senator also noted that crime rate has dropped when death penalty was imposed in 1993. He also said that the drug problem is also considered as a global pandemic which should also be prioritized.

“It is also considered a global pandemic itong drug problem. So, hindi naman siguro ibig sabihin na porke tayo may kinakaharap na global pandemic na COVID-19, hihinto na lang tayo sa paggawa ng ibang batas para sa ibang mga issues na kinakaharap ng ating lipunan (This drug problem is also considered as a global pandemic. Just because we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic does not mean we would stop making laws for other issues faced by society),” he said.

Dela Rosa was appointed as a member of a Senate panel under the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian relinquished his seat.

The said Senate panel will vote on bills including the reimposition of death penalty in the country. However, panel chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the bill should be discussed at the proper time.

“I will not sponsor it because I do not believe in it. We will take it up at the proper time,” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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