Press Release
May 3, 2012

Senate resumes session Tuesday, tackles priority bills
The Senate will resume the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona on
Monday, May 7, 2012 after a six-week recess.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the Senate will resume hearing the impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday and will resume its plenary sessions on Tuesday, May 8.

Since the impeachment trial began last January 16, the Senate likewise had to rearrange its schedule such that legislative sessions are conducted twice a week to give way to the Impeachment trial.

Enrile said that while the Senate has focused its attention on the Corona trial, the Senate and the various committees have also worked on other legislative measures.

"Our legislative work cannot take a backseat even with the ongoing impeachment proceedings. We will do our best to make sure that urgent and priority bills will be passed before the President delivers his state of the nation address in July," he said.

Enrile said the Senate will tackle pending bill such as Senate Bill No. 3009 which seeks to amend the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), SBN 3098 or the proposed Competition Act and SBN 2865 or the Reproductive Health Bill when plenary session resumes on Tuesday. The Senate is also expected to deliberate on the proposed Terrorist Financing Suppression Act before the adjournment of its second regular session.

The AMLA bill proposes amendments to the existing law to further strengthen the country's legal framework to curb money laundering activities and make it fully compliant with international standards while the Terrorist Financing Suppression Act seeks to criminalize the financing of terrorist activities.

On the other hand, the proposed Competition Act seeks to protect the public against unfair trade practices, Enrile said. Meanwhile, Senate Executive Director for Legislation Renato Bantug Jr. said the Chamber hopes to pass AMLA amendments and the Terrorist Financing Suppression Act before Congress on June 8. In a letter addressed to Enrile last March, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa said the Philippines has been downgraded from the grey list to the dark grey list for its failure to enact into law the AMLA amendments and the Terrorist Financing Suppression bill last year."

The Philippines, Ochoa warned, would be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) unless it meets its May 2012 deadline.

If blacklisted by the FATF, Philippine-based transactions would face increased scrutiny by financial institutions could result in delayed remittances of Filipinos working abroad, higher transaction charges and costs. Statistics from the Legislative Bills and Index Service showed that Senate has approved 34 bills and has acted upon 283 other measures filed since July 2010.

These 16 have been enacted into law, namely: RA No. 10147 (General Appropriations Act of 2011), RA No. 10148 (Grant of Philippine Citizenship to Marcus Eugene Douthit), RA No. 10149 (GOCC Governance Act), RA No. 10150 (Extending the Lifeline Rate to Marginalized End-Users of Power), RA No. 10151 (An Allowing the Employment of Night Workers), RA No. 10152 (Mandatory Basic Immunization Services for Infants and Children) RA No. 10153 (Synchronization of the ARMM Elections with the National and Local Elections), RA No. 10154 (Early Release of Retirement Pay of Government Employees), RA No. 10155 (General Appropriations Act of 2012), RA No. 10156 (Conferment of Civil Service Eligibility to Members of the Sangguniang Bayan), RA No. 10157 (Kindergarten Education Act), RA No. 10158 (Act Decriminalizing Vagrancy), RA No. 10159 (Amending the Revised Penal Code provision on Subsidiary Imprisonment), RA No. 10160 (Bacoor City Charter), RA No. 10161 (Imus City Charter) and RA10162 (Sta. Rosa City Charter). Four other measures await the approval of the President, these are: the Foster Care Act, the Geology Profession Act, Cabuyao City Charter and the Mabalacat City Charter.

Two other bills are pending in the conference committee, Department of Information and Communications Technology and Ethnic Discrimination.

Nine bills to the House of Representatives for concurrence - SBN 789 or Additional Benefits and Protection for Househelpers, SBN 429 or the Discrimination Against Women, SBN 480 or Replacing the Term "Spouse of Age" with "Either Spouse", SBN 1052 amending the Family Code (Divorced Obtained Abroad), SBN 2796 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2011, SBN 2811 or the People's Survival Fund (Climate Change), SBN 2817 or the Involuntary Disappearance Act, SBN 2875 or the Security of Tenure of Casual/Contractual Employees of the Government and SBN 2965 or the Data Privacy Act.

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