By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, June 19 (PNA) – Despite her health condition, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has emerged with the highest number of filed bills and resolutions in the Senate after the second regular session of the 16th Congress.
Santiago, who has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, has filed a total of 1,324 bills and resolutions as the Senate adjourned sine die on June 11, according to a document from the Senate bills and resolutions index service.
She was followed by Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada with 642 bills and resolutions and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV with 344. Reckoning bills and resolutions separately, Santiago still topped all her colleagues with 671 bills and 629 resolutions.
“Only my body is sick, not my brain. I am not yet physically fit to attend plenary sessions. However, I have managed to discharge my duties as chair of certain Senate committees and I continue to file bills and resolutions on a weekly basis.” she said.
Santiago is set to end her Senate stint as the consistent top-performer during her three terms. Santiago was senator from 1995 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2010. She was re-elected in 2010 and is limited by law to run for another term in 2016.
In the 16th Congress, Santiago co-authored several bills approved into law, including the Open Learning and Distance Education Act; the Youth Entrepreneurship Act; the Student-Athletes Protection Act; the Open High School System Act; and the Fair Competition Act.
From the bills she solely authored, the feisty senator identified priority bills languishing at the committee level.
These include the Anti-Epal Bill, the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill, the Magna Carta for Call Center Workers, and the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom.
“I am disappointed that some committees are sitting on many of my bills, even when there is wide public support for my proposals. These bills will not even be debated on. I suspect that powers that be fear how these bills will impact our political system,” the senator said.
Santiago also successfully pushed for Senate concurrence on extradition treaties with the United Kingdom, Spain, and India; social security agreements with Portugal and Denmark; an agreement with the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) establishing the PEMSEA Resource Facility Center; and, accession to the Nagoya Protocol.
Aside from filing bills and leading concurrence to treaties, Santiago has filed numerous resolutions used as basis for public hearings on necessary repairs in Metro Manila train systems, controversial construction projects, and Chinese activity in the West Philippine Sea.
Santiago remains on medical leave because of her lung cancer which was initially diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome. In January this year, she wrote to Senate President Frank Drilon that she intends to finish her term.
Despite her condition, the senator remains widely popular on social media, with many touting the relevance of measures she files. Her name is also still being floated as one of the leading possible candidates for the presidential elections in 2016. (PNA)