SEN. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Saturday said she was disappointed in her colleagues for not acting on several measures at the Senate, including the proposed Anti-Signage of Public Works Bill and Senate Bills No. 55 and 1580, which seek to ban political dynasties.
“I am disappointed. Without public clamor, these bills will never see the light of day. The committees to which these bills were referred are sitting on them,” Santiago said in a statement.
The Anti-Signage of Public Works Bill was referred to the committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization chaired by Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, while the Anti-Political Dynasty bills were referred to the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Organization chaired by Senator Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.
Santiago has requested both senators for a public hearing on her bills, which she claimed “have been pending in the Senate for a prolonged period of time.”
“It would be best for the legislative process to ensure that the bills are at least reported out to the plenary session, considering their wide implications on our political system,” she said.
Aside from the two measures, other priority legislations have yet to be acted upon by the chamber. They include S.B. No. 56 or the Deceased Organ Donor bill; S.B. No. 57 the Magna Carta for Call Center Workers; S.B. No. 186 or the HIV and AIDS Policy and Plan bill; and S.B. No. 185 or the Certificate of Intention to Run for Public Office (Cirpo) bill.
The Cirpo bill requires any person seeking public office to file a certificate of intention to run six months before the deadline for the filing of a certificate for candidacy.
As the principal author of S.B. No. 53 or the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF), Santiago earlier wrote to Sen. Ralph Recto, who heads the Committee on Science and Technology, requesting an immediate public hearing.
She emphasized that her bill sought to repeal Republic Act No. 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which was upheld in part by a Supreme Court ruling on February 18.
“My bill – in stark contrast to the Supreme Court ruling – characterizes the crime of online libel as unconstitutional, because the provision violates both the ‘void for vagueness,’ and ‘overbreadth’ doctrines in constitutional law.
Moreover, the Supreme Court ruling appears to go against the global inclination to decriminalize libel,” Santiago explained in her letter.
Recto has set the committee hearing for the MCPIF on Monday next week. Santiago has offered to co-sponsor the bill with Recto.
“But first there has to be a public hearing so that netizens can be given a forum for airing their opposition to the recent Supreme Court decision, particularly where the decision upholds the constitutionality of online libel,” she said.