Press Release
May 7, 2020

Tolentino defends Senate, recognizes colleagues' efforts in helping country recover from COVID-19

Administration Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino defended the Senate from criticism that the Upper Chamber has done nothing amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. "Mr President, yung sinasabi po nila na walang ginagawa ang Senado, Ang sagot diyan ay, "No." The Senate has not remained silent, nor has it succumbed to inaction," Tolentino said in his privilege speech on Wednesday.

Tolentino's response was fueled by criticism by some local officials and fake news on social media, accusing the Senate of inaction amid the pandemic.

The lawmaker said the Senate, in fulfillment of its constitutional mandate, enacted a vital piece of legislation that helped the national government and local government units in addressing the needs of the people affected by COVID-19.

"I rise today, to give a highlight of the accomplishments of our colleagues, starting with the landmark measure that laid down the framework for the recovery and rehabilitation of the country. We started last Feb. 4, 2020 when we held committee hearing to tackle coronavirus, Then on March 23, we tackled the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Rep Act No. 11469. Bakit nila sinasabi na wala tayong ginagawa?" he stressed.

Despite the COVID-19 threat, Tolentino said the Senate bravely faced it by continuing to perform its constitutional mandate, opening its session as scheduled on May 4 and adopting hybrid proceedings through Senate Resolution No. 372.

The administration ally also recognized the efforts and accomplishments of his colleagues, including economic and fiscal measures needed to boost the economy which aim to help the country recover from the effects of COVID-19 and usher in the "new normal."

As the country looks to the future after the pandemic, Tolentino emphasized that the Filipino people can depend on the Senate as the bedrock of innovative solutions for looming recession, unemployment, possible fiscal problems, stretched health systems and government resources and closed small businesses.

He also called on his fellow lawmakers to remain solid and strong amid moves to sow distrust within the Senate to satisfy private interests.

"If that happens, who will then speak for the Filipinos? Who will stand for the marginalized? It is the Senate... Hence, we ought to remain solid and strong," he emphasized.

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