No death penalty law before Duterte’s 2nd SONA – Sotto

Camille Elemia

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No death penalty law before Duterte’s 2nd SONA – Sotto
Among those eyed to be passed by June 2017 are bills on the coco levy trust fund, free internet in public places, and free higher education

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to prioritize the passage of 15 bills before the 1st session of the 17th Congress adjourns sine die in June.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the controversial death penalty bill is not in the joint priority list because it is not an urgent matter in the chamber. The House already approved the measure.

“Priority sa House, ‘di priority sa Senate. Mahirap, ‘di ko masasama sa June kasi pagdedebatehan pa ‘yan,” he said in a press conference on Thursday, April 6. 

(It’s a priority in the House but not in the Senate. It will be difficult. I cannot include it in the list for June because it will still be up for debates.)

The 15 measures Congress is planning to pass in June include:

  1. Free Internet Access in Public Places Act
  2. Free School Feeding Act
  3. Free Higher Education Act
  4. Amendments to the Philippine Passport Act
  5. Estate Tax Reform Act
  6. Corporation Code of the Philippines
  7. Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act (coco levy)
  8. Amendments to the Revised Penal Code
  9. Ease of Doing Business Act
  10. Refusal of Hospitals to Administer Medical Treatment in Emergency Cases
  11. Enhanced Universal Healthcare Act
  12. Free Irrigation Services Act
  13. Agrarian and Agricultural Credit Condonation Act
  14. Extension of Driver’s License Validity
  15. One Town: One Doctor Act

“In the 9 months of the present administration, they have done things that others haven’t done in 12 years,” said Sotto, citing the inclusion of free irrigation and free college education in the 2017 national budget.

The 1st regular session of the 17th Congress is set to adjourn sine die from June 3 to July 23. The 2nd regular session will convene on July 24, in time for President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.