Congress resumes session; Laude, Makati probes on Senate agenda
MANILA, Philippines – Probes on the slay of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude and Makati's infrastructure projects are on the Senate agenda as Congress resumes session Monday, October 20.
Congress resumes its session after a 3-week break, and will last for two weeks before the lawmakers take a break again for the All Saint's Day holiday.
The Senate is scheduled to start its probe into the Laude case this week, and resume the probe into Makati infrastructure projects next week.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the blue ribbon subcommittee leading the probe, said the will send second invitation to Vice President Jejomar Binay to attend the probe. The 9th hearing is scheduled on October 30.
Pimentel said Binay should take the opportunity to answer a string of allegations against him.
The Senate committee on foreign relations is also scheduled on Wedneday, 22, to start its inquiry into the slay of Laude allegedly by US Marines Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton. Senator Miriam Santiago will lead the probe.
The Senate probe will happen a day after the preliminary investigation scheduled on Tuesday, October 21.
Laude's slay recalled issues surrounding the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a treaty ratified by the Senate, which is supposedly lopsided in favor of the Americans by allowing them to take custody of erring US troops while cases are in court.
It also puts in the line the public acceptance of a new deal with the US, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. (READ: EDCA, Olongapo murder, Daniel Smith)
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) brought to the US Embassy subpoenas for Pemberton and 4 other US Marines whose testimonies are sought.
The US Embassy on Sunday, October 19, said the 4 US Marines will no longer appear at the Tuesday investigation because they'v already given their sworn statements "satisfying the requirements of the city prosecutor."
It is up to the lawyer of Pemberton if he will appear at the preliminary investigation on Tuesday, the US Embassy added.
The Senate committee on finance, meanwhile, has lined up budget deliberations of several agencies to be able to pass the General Appropriations Act on time.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Senate is also set to approve on 3rd reading several bills.
Drilons identified the bills prohibiting of the development and stockpiling of chemical weapons, establishing the Sugarcane Industry and Development Fund, and The Fair Competition Act as nearing 3rd reading passage.
“We have a lot of pertinent bills on our list, and a number of these proposed legislation requires immediate passage. We will make every second of our remaining time in session count. We will give it our best shot,” Drilon said in a statement. – Rappler.com