Enrile: Maintaining a balance amid trials and triumphs

June 7, 2012 9:48 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, June 7 — Recognizing that the second regular session has so far been the most challenging period in the 15th Congress, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile thanked on Wednesday night the hundreds of Senate employees for working tirelessly to ensure that the smooth flow of legislative work continued despite the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

"With candor, I will admit that this Second Regular Session has been the most challenging that I have had to lead, and mostly in part because of the impeachment trial," id Enrile said.

"I would like to acknowledge the commendable work of the men and women in the Senate Secretariat and the Senate Proper who helped the Impeachment Court and rendered extended hours of service throughout the trial," he stressed.

"In the exercise of our Constitutional obligation to try and decide the impeachment case against the Chief Justice, we kept our resolve to give due respect to individuals, observing processes that adhered to our Bill of Rights. We maintained the delicate balance of the separation of powers and staved off the specter of a Constitutional crisis," Enrile added.

Enrile also acknowledged that the trial had put a strain not just on the Senate's legislative work with major bills and resolutions having to be set aside, but also on the whole nation who, he said, expects the best from those they had elected into office.

"The impeachment trial has not left us unscathed. The primacy of the constitutional process may have invigorated our sense of nationhood, but the bitter fissures in the trial's aftermath threaten the work that lies ahead," Enrile said.

"The events that transpired in the past few months should not deter us from doing our duty as protector of the rights of the people. Lest we let our guards down, we must take to heart the hard lessons that we learned and make sure that our nation's needs will be met this coming 3rd Regular Session," he added.

Despite legislative work being delayed due to the 44-day impeachment trial of the chief magistrate, the Senate managed to pass bills considered as priority by Malacañang. A total of 13 bills, including six House bills, were passed on third reading, including SB 3009 amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2011 and SB 3127 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, which were certified as urgent by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Other priority bills passed on third reading were SB 3164, amending the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act, and the Cybercrime bill.

The third regular session will resume on July 23 in time for the State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) of President Aquino. (PNA) scs/jfm

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