Jan 062015

Despite her failure to attend most of the Senate sessions and hearings due to her battle with lung cancer, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was able to file the most number of bills and resolutions among her colleagues.

Santiago has filed a total of 1,007 bills and resolutions, as of December 17, the last session day of Congress in 2014. She was followed by Sens. Jinggoy Estrada with 604 bills and resolutions; Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV with 307; Sen. Lito Lapid with 219; and Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito with 217.

Estrada is facing plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam and detained at PNP Custodial Center since June 2014. Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr. are also facing plunder raps and are likewise detained in Camp Crame.

Amid the absence of some of its members, the Senate, since the 16th Congress convened in July 2013, was able to approve 44 proposed measures of national importance – of which 17 were signed into law in 2014 and four in 2013.

In July 2014, Santiago announced that she has stage IV lung cancer. Through the help of oral chemotherapy or targeted treatment, she said in October that 90 percent of her cancer cells have already been killed as she expressed optimism to attend the Senate session.

Even while on leave from the Senate, Santiago attended carefully chosen hearings of the Senate foreign relations committee and Commission on Appointments which she both heads such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and the murder of transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

Among the bills Santiago sponsored or authored since her election in 2004 were the: Reproductive Health Act; Biofuels Law; Renewable Energy Law; Sin Tax Law; Magna Carta of Women; Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act; Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity; Cybercrime Law; Seatbelt Law; Exact Change Act; Philippine Standard Time Act; Motorcycle Helmet Act; Kasambahay Law; Anti-Bullying Law; Archipelagic Baselines Law; and Climate Change Act.

She is also pushing for the passage of the following bills before her term ends on 2016: the Anti-Commercialization of Human Organs, Tissues or Parts of Living Persons Bill; the Anti-Epal Bill; the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill; Billboard Regulation Bill; Call Center Bill; Child Care Centers Bill; Certificate of Intention to Run for Public Office Bill; Clear Sidewalks Bill; Compulsory Teaching of Ethics Bill; Deceased Donor Bill; HIV and AIDS Bill; Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Sector; Pthalate-Free Toy Bill; Special Education Bill; Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom; and Whistleblowers Bill.

Included in the 538 bills Santiago filed in 2014 were proposals for the institutionalization of an age-appropriate curriculum to prevent the abduction, exploitation, and sexual abuse of children which are prejudicial to their development (Senate Bill No. 2339); stricter monitoring of bank accounts of politically exposed persons (Senate Bill No. 2438); part-time employment in place of retrenchment (Senate Bill No. 2470); and increasing court-awarded damages for death (Senate Bill No. 2513).

She also filed resolutions urging the Senate to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation on the alleged Binay farm; projects by controversial Hilmarc’s Construction Corp.; the constitutionality of the Visiting Forces Agreement; and the series of abduction cases in Makati, among others. Amita Legaspi/NB, GMA News

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