MANILA — Senator Franklin Drilon on Monday lauded fellow minority senators for their performance in the 17th Congress, saying they have been the most productive lawmakers in the upper chamber.
In a statement, Drilon, the minority leader, said 7 of the 10 bills of supposed national significance passed by the Senate before it adjourned session last week were sponsored and authored by the group.
"The minority bloc has been working hard all this time. The records will bear this out — 5 of the 7 bills approved on third reading and two of the three Senate bills passed on second reading were sponsored and authored by members of the minority," Drilon said.
"I am proud of our performance. We are the most productive group in the Senate. We did the lion's share of the work in passing landmark legislation and bills of national significance."
Drilon issued the statement following the controversial reshuffling that saw four Liberal Party senators removed from key posts.
During the reorganization, he was removed as Senate president pro-tempore and replaced by Senator Ralph Recto, also a member of the LP.
Senators Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, and Risa Hontiveros were also stripped of their committee chairmanships.
The leadership overhaul prompted Aquino, Drilon, Hontiveros, and Pangilinan to join Senators Leila De Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV in the minority.
According to Drilon, the minority passed 7 bills which, “once enacted into laws, will have a direct positive impact on the lives of our people.”
The seven bills are the Affordable Higher Education Act for All (Aquino); Free Internet Access in Public Places Act (Aquino); Expanded Maternity Leave Law (Hontiveros); Mental Health Act (Hontiveros); Philippine Food Technology Act (Trillanes); Speech Language Pathology Act (Trillanes); and the adjustment to the present peso value of the amounts in the 87-year old Revised Penal Code (Drilon).
"Our being vocal against some policies of the government should not be mistaken as obstructionism or as part of an imagined destabilization," Drilon said.
"While we may criticize or oppose, the minority bloc has shown that it has also been supportive of legislative proposals that would benefit our country and our people. To those who would insist otherwise, I would encourage them to just work as hard as we in the minority bloc do."
The Senate resumes its session in May.
Drilon said 20 of the 32 pending bills on second reading are authored and sponsored by members of the minority bloc.
These bills include the Coconut Farmers Industry Development Act, Sagip Saka Act, the Corporation Code, Pagkaing Pinoy Para sa Batang Pinoy, Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act, increase in allowances of government employees through the Cost and Living Allowance and Personnel Economic Relief Allowance, Teachers Supply Allowance Act, among others.