Trillanes attends his first hearing in the Senate

January 12, 2011 12:52 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 11 – Living up to his promise to work better after being given provisional freedom, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV attended on Tuesday the first two hearings conducted by the Senate this year.

Although he used to conduct public hearings while still in detention in Camp Crame, it was the first time that Trillanes attended committee hearings inside the Senate building since his election in 2007.

Trillanes actually arrived late in the first hearing jointly held by the committees on health and demography and labor, employment and human resources development to investigate the alleged exploitative practice of some hospitals that employ fresh nursing graduates without giving proper compensation.

The lawmaker also attended another committee hearing conducted by the committee on health and demography chaired by Senator Pia Cayetano to tackle Senate Bill No. 257 or the Philippine National Health Research System Act of 2010 filed by Trillanes.

”It’s just the same as the ones I have been conducting inside Camp Crame,” he said.

Trillanes, however, admitted he is excited to attend his first Senate session on Monday, saying he even invited one of the experts in the parliament procedures to brief him on Friday.

”Of course, I’m excited. I’m just going to observe the first few weeks. I will be coming as a student actually. I won’t pretend to be an expert in all these things,” he said.

In an ambush media interview, Trillanes answered pressing issues ranging from the exploitation of nurses to the revived charter change move which he perceived as still the agenda of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

”The cha-cha is still a GMA agenda. So, you better watch out on that,” Trillanes warned.

On the issue of the exploitation of fresh nursing graduates, Trillanes believed that the problem emanated from oversupply of nurses in the country.

”We have to really check the oversupply of nursing students and this reported abuse or exploitation of nurses,” he said.

Several nursing associations complained during the hearing that some private and public hospitals employ registered nurses and nursing graduates as "on-the-job trainees" instead of hiring them as regular employees and even allegedly charging the nurses additional fees for training, work experience and certification.

”We challenged these nursing association to produce witnesses that will actually testify so that’s where we will start everything. We will tackle this issue in all fronts and the hospitals' associations, we will give them opportunity to regulate themselves,” Trillanes said.

Meanwhile, Trillanes confirmed that the National Defense Act of 1935 has been included in the agenda at the resumption of the Congress.

”Actually, I want overhauling of the original Defense Act which was enacted in 1935,” he said.

Meanwhile, Trillanes said he is still waiting for the approval of his amnesty application.

Late last year, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Proclamation No. 75 which grants amnesty to more than 300 soldiers and supporters who participated in three military uprisings – the Oakwood Mutiny, the Marines Stand-off and the Peninsula Manila Hotel Incident under the Arroyo administration.

The lawmaker, who spearheaded the Oakwood Mutiny in protest of the alleged anomalies under the Arroyo government, was granted temporary freedom by the Makati Regional Trial Court last month. He was released under the custody of the Senate. (PNA) scs/jfm

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