The Senate closed last night as what Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile described "as the most challenging" second regular session of the 15th Congress by adjourning sine die, which means "without a day."
Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the Senate would resume its third regular session on July 23, in time for the State-of-the-Nation Address, when senators will proceed to the House of Representatives for a joint session of Congress to hear President Aquino deliver his SONA.
"In closing, permit me to make a confession. With candor, I will admit that this Second Regular Session has been the most challenging that I have had to lead, and mostly in part because of the impeachment," Enrile said.
Despite the delay in the legislative work due to the 44-day impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, the Senate managed to pass urgent and priority bills to improve the people's quality of life, according to Enrile.
The Senate made up for lost time this week by approving 13 bills, including six house bills, on third and final reading. In addition, he reported that the Conference Committee has also approved the Cybercrime bill.
These bills are Senate bill 3009 amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2011; Senate Bill 3127 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012; Senate Bill No. 3164 amending the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act; Senate Bill No. 3206, or the act recognizing the early years from zero to age eight as the first crucial stage of educational development, strengthening the Early Childhood Care and Development Council and renaming the day care center as Child Development Center; Senate Joint Resolution No. 14 which seeks to extend the life of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Dangerous Drugs (COCDD) to 10 more years; Senate Bill No. 3209, otherwise known as the "Red Cross and other Emblems Act of 2012" which penalizes misuse of the Red Cross logo.
Also approved were House Bill No. 5608, also known as the "Reapportioning of the Province of Palawan into Three Legislative Districts" and six franchise bills for the construction, operation and maintenance of radio and television broadcasting stations in the country.
Sotto expressed satisfaction with the output of the Senate despite the huge time it spent for the impeachment trial of Corona.
"Generally, I'm very satisfied with the production of the Senate. What we have achieved for the entire year (June 2011 to June 7 2012) is quite difficult to achieve without the impeachment but with the impeachment it is doubly satisfying," Sotto said. (PNA)