Senators working "overtime", add three more days of plenary session between May 17-June 14

Published May 13, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senators meet in caucus Monday morning to discuss the possibility of adding three more days to their plenary session which resumes May 17 and adjourns sine die on June 14.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said he would present the proposal to his colleagues on a proposal to add Thursdays to their usual Monday to Wednesday sessions on Monday morning.

If approved, the nine-day plenary session from May 17 to June 14 will be increased to 12 days.

Sotto said sessions during the old Congress were held from Mondays to Thursdays.

When the Senate and the House of Representatives resume regular session on Monday after a Lenten break, Sotto said priority would be the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Act, proposed Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (DoFil) and a few others.

The Senate minority bloc endorsed the Sotto proposal.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said he supported the proposal when Sotto broached it to him a few days ago.

‘’When Senate President and I were neophyte senators in the 90s, the Senate had four sessions a week, although the Thursday sessions were devoted to local bills,’’ Drilon said.

Senate President Ralph G. Recto said he is amenable ‘’but will surely discuss this in a caucus.’’

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said he is Ok with sessions on Thursdays and that ‘’nine session days is too short to finish all the priority measures.’’

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said he would support this move of the Senate leadership.’’

Opposition Senator Francis ‘’Kiko’’ Pangilinan also supported the Sotto proposal.

Senator Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’ M. Angara, son of the late Senate President Edgardo Angara, supported it ‘’since we have committee hearings on Thursdays and sometimes Fridays even so that’s good time management to tackle and pass more measures.’’

Senator Imee R. Marcos, chairwoman of the Senate economic affairs committee, said she overwhelmingly agrees to the proposal.

Senator Grace Poe, chairwoman of the Senate public services committee, agrees with the proposal.

‘’We have several major priority bills. The Public Service Act (PSA) is a priority measure and under my committee. This complex and often times contentious bill, will require extensive scrutiny and debates for the body to come up with the most equitable version of the bill we hope to pass into law at the soonest possible time.’’ she said.

‘’The PSA is expected to encourage more foreign investments to aid our economy and create the much needed employment especially at this time,’’ she added.