Senate of the Philippines - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Senate of the Philippines


FALSE: Pacquiao was 'only senator' who responded to coronavirus crisis

Mar 31, 2020 - 6:31 PM

Other senators also responded to the outbreak by providing aid, among others, to affected families and frontliners

Senators ask gov't about its plan after passage of special powers law

Mar 30, 2020 - 6:18 PM

Senator Panfilo Lacson warns against delays in the release of cash to low-income households, saying this could drive families to desperation

CHECKPOINT. Police officers stop vehicles at a checkpoint in Balintawak, Quezon City to check on their temperatures during the start of the community quarantine on March 15, 2020. Photo by Lisa Marie David/Rappler

Sonny Angara tests positive for coronavirus

Mar 26, 2020 - 2:00 PM

Senator Sonny Angara says he has 'not been in contact with the public since taking the test last March 16'

Committee on Finance chairman Senator Sonny Angara answers questions from Senators Lacson and Drilon on the 2020 national budget. November 12, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva

'Worst is yet to come unless DOH, FDA act with urgency' says Lacson

Mar 25, 2020 - 11:27 PM

Senator Panfilo Lacson questions why the 125,000 test kits from South Korea and China are held by the Bureau of Customs

'BE FLEXIBLE'. Senator Panfilo Lacson urges DOH and FDA to be more flexible. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Duterte's special powers law prone to abuse – Hontiveros

Mar 25, 2020 - 10:54 PM

'Did we let the President share Congress' power in exchange for some good anti-COVID-19 measures na pwede naman na nating gawin under current laws and programs and even existing funds?' Senator Risa Hontiveros says

UNNECESSARY. Senator Risa Hontiveros raises the unnecessary passage of the Bayanihan to Heal as One law. Senate PRIB photo

Makati Med denounces Pimentel's 'irresponsible, reckless' protocol breach

Mar 25, 2020 - 7:10 PM

The Makati Medical Center slams Senator Koko Pimentel's actions, saying he 'added to the burden' of the hospital by violating his home quarantine and exposing health workers to possible infection

RESIGNATION. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III resigns from his post on May 21, 2018. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

TIMELINE: When Pimentel tested positive for coronavirus

Mar 25, 2020 - 4:05 PM

(3rd UPDATE) Here's a timeline of events leading up to Senator Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel's announcement that he is positive for the coronavirus

POSITIVE. Senator Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel tests positive for the virus. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Congress reins in Duterte's special budget powers

Mar 25, 2020 - 3:45 PM

Cures and fixes notwithstanding, the new law may still be unnecessary because it is superfluous

SURPRISE INSPECTION. President Duterte talks to cops manning a checkpoint at the Valenzuela-Meycauayan boundary on March 17, 2020. Photo of PSG Commander Col. Jesus Durante, posted on the Facebook page of PCOO Usec Lorraine Badoy

Pimentel tests positive for coronavirus

Mar 25, 2020 - 12:22 PM

(4th UPDATE) Senator Koko Pimentel says he was at the hospital with his wife – who was supposed to give birth on Wednesday, March 25 – when he learned about the test result

POSITIVE. Senator Koko Pimentel wears a face mask at a public hearing on the Philippine government's preparedness on the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease on February 4, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

House, Senate dissenters: 'Emergency actions, not powers' needed vs coronavirus

Mar 24, 2020 - 5:03 PM

Only 10 legislators – 9 from the House and 1 in the Senate – opposed the bill giving President Rodrigo Duterte at least 27 'special' powers vs to address the COVID-19 crisis

DISSENTERS. (From L-R, starting upper row) Senator Risa Hontiveros, and Representatives Gabriel Bordado, Edcel Lagman, Manuel Cabochan III, Sarah Elago, Arlene Brosas, France Castro, Ferdinand Gaite, Eufemia Cullamat, and Carlos Zarate. Photos by Rappler and courtesy of

Special powers bill to deal with coronavirus now up for Duterte's signature

Mar 24, 2020 - 4:18 AM

If signed by the President, the special powers law will be valid for 3 months, unless extended by Congress

CORONAVIRUS. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malacanan Palace on March 12, 2020. Malacanan photo

Senate approves bill giving Duterte special powers to deal with coronavirus pandemic

Mar 24, 2020 - 2:41 AM

(UPDATED) At least 18 million low-income households will receive cash assistance worth P5,000 to P8,000, depending on the regional minimum wage, if the Senate version is signed into law by the President

SPECIAL POWERS. Policemen patrolling the community quarantine control point at the Susana Heights-SLEX exit, check on body temp and identification cards of commuters entering Metro Manila on March 16, 2020. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Senate bill seeks compensation for coronavirus-hit health workers

Mar 24, 2020 - 1:25 AM

Senate Bill No. 1418 also includes a 'special COVID-19 risk allowance,' in addition to health workers' regular hazard pay

HEALTH WORKERS. The Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office demonstrates to barangay first responders how to use the protective gear properly in case COVID-19 hit their barangays during doffing of personal protective equipment on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

LOOK: Senate bill seeks to grant Duterte 'special powers' to deal with pandemic

Mar 23, 2020 - 11:54 AM

The Senate's 'We Heal as One Act' allows 'directing private hospital operations' to address the outbreak when the need arises. There's no mention of emergency powers in the bill.

PANDEMIC. The exodus of travellers to the provinces hopes to avoid the COVID-19 infection spreading in the Metro Manila. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

LIVE: Senate special session on coronavirus funds

Mar 22, 2020 - 11:30 PM

Watch the Senate special session live on Rappler at 10 am on Monday, March 23

Lawmakers, Malacañang to discuss allowing Duterte 'flexibility' to deal with pandemic

Mar 20, 2020 - 11:09 PM

Key Senate and House leaders will meet on Saturday, March 21, with senior Cabinet officials on 'how to empower the government' during this crisis, says Senate President Tito Sotto

OUTBREAK. Shoppers wear surgical mask in Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan City where the prayer room of the patient positive of coronavirus is a regular visitor. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

Sotto asks Duterte to call for special session to approve coronavirus fund

Mar 19, 2020 - 3:40 PM

(UPDATED) Senate President Vicente Sotto III also proposes a food subsidy budget, while Senator Panfilo Lacson pushes for an allowance for senior citizens during the Luzon lockdown

SPECIAL SESSION. Senators call for a special session to tackle coronavirus supplemental funds. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Gatchalian, Binay test negative for coronavirus

Mar 17, 2020 - 4:56 PM

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III says he would ask Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri to get tested again in case his initial test result is a 'false positive'

SENATE HEARING. Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay (right) at the March 5, 2020 hearing of the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture where one of the guests would later test positive for COVID-19. The two senators went in self-quarantine and tested negative on March 17, 2020. Photo from Senate PRIB

Zubiri tests positive for coronavirus

Mar 16, 2020 - 7:25 PM

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is the first high-ranking legislative official to test positive for the virus

POSITIVE. Senator Miguel Zubiri tests positive for coronavirus. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Half of senators in self-quarantine due to coronavirus threat

Mar 12, 2020 - 4:07 PM

(UPDATED) Some senators will practice social distancing while others will continue working remotely

QUARANTINE. Senate plenary session on July 29, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Senate under 'restricted access' after guest tests positive for coronavirus

Mar 11, 2020 - 10:57 PM

(UPDATED) Senate President Vicente Sotto III says initial disinfection was done by the janitorial service on Thursday morning, March 12

LOCKDOWN. The facade of the Senate building. Photo from the Senate of the Philippines Facebook page

Gatchalian, Binay under self-quarantine after Senate guest tests positive for virus

Mar 11, 2020 - 10:31 PM

Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay have also ordered their staff members to go into quarantine for 14 days

SELF-QUARANTINE. Senator Win Gatchalian, chairman of Senate Committee on Energy, presides the Senate hearing. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

'Group in alleged money laundering scheme offered P20M bribe' – Gordon

Mar 10, 2020 - 7:22 PM

'I am chagrined. Ang lalakas ng loob nitong mga ‘to. Akala nila kaya nila kong bilhin,' says Senator Richard Gordon

'BRIBE'. Senator Richard Gordon holds a paper where the names of the members of a certain Rodriguez family alleged to have brought into the country some $283 million in cash since July last year were written. Photo by Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB

‘Hospitalized’ NGCP chief skips Senate hearing on China role in power grid

Mar 10, 2020 - 6:22 PM

'We do acknolwedge his medical condition, assuming that it's true and confirmed,' says Senator Sherwin Gatchalian as he suspends the 21-minute hearing

'AT THE HOSPITAL'. Mr. Anthony Almeda, president and CEO of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines at the Senate hearing on February 3, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

WATCH: DepEd's Briones 'serenades' senators

Mar 10, 2020 - 8:00 AM

After singing, Senator Minority Leader Franklin Drilon jokes: 'I will oppose anyone who will try to cut the budget of the Department of Education'

'SINGING SECRETARY'. Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones leads the Manila Concert Choir. Photo from Manila Concert Choir's Facebook page

'Coronavirus testing kits must be available in all hospitals' – Zubiri

Mar 09, 2020 - 10:49 PM

'Let's not be complacent,' says Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri

'DON'T BE COMPLACENT'. Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri gives a privilege speech on the threat of Covid-19 spread. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Territorial dispute: Pia Cayetano fumes over Marcos tackling Citira at committee hearing

Mar 09, 2020 - 9:14 PM

'Please don’t try to mediate,' Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the ways and means committee, tells fellow senators. 'Resolve the jurisdictional issue.'

'CLARITY'. Senator Pia Cayetano says she wants clarity over Senate rules. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Senate staff told: No need to come to work

Mar 09, 2020 - 8:51 PM

Senators can still hold committee hearings and require their staff to come to the Senate, but at their 'own risk'

'AT YOUR OWN RISK'. Senate hearings may still push through but at the senator's 'own risk.' File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

PEZA asks Senate to delay Citira passage amid coronavirus crisis

Mar 09, 2020 - 5:00 PM

With the coronavirus crisis, Philippine Economic Zone Authority chief Charito Plaza finds an opening to appeal against the Citira bill anew

DELAY. PEZA Director General Charito Plaza speaks at the Senate hearing on the economic impact of coronavirus to the ecozones. Screengrab from Senate of the Philippines' Youtube

At last, Senate asks Supreme Court to define limits of Duterte's power

Mar 09, 2020 - 4:02 PM

'I'm sure my colleagues will agree na dapat talaga there cannot be absolutism in our government,' says Senator Richard Gordon

VFA PETITION. Senate President Vicente Sotto III with fellow senators Panfilo Lacson, Franklin Drilon and Richard Gordon file on March 9, 2020, a Petition for Declaratory Relief and Mandamus at the Supreme Court questioning the country's abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States. Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

Senate asks Supreme Court: Order Duterte to seek our concurrence on VFA scrapping

Mar 09, 2020 - 1:54 PM

This marks the first time that senators of the majority bloc are challenging a policy of the Duterte administration before the Supreme Court

VFA PETITION. Senate President Vicente Sotto III with fellow senators Panfilo Lacson, Franklin Drilon and Richard Gordon file on March 9, 2020, a Petition for Declaratory Relief and Mandamus at the Supreme Court questioning the country's abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States. Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

PH senators to skip global lawmakers assembly over coronavirus threat

Mar 07, 2020 - 9:44 PM

Philippine Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon says the Inter-Parliamentary Union executive committee is 'reviewing the situation and may decide not to convene the assembly due to the Covid-19 outbreak'

CORONAVIRUS THREAT. Senator Panfilo Lacson at the 141st Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Serbia. Photo from the Senate of the Philippines Facebook page

'If we're acting like a province of China, why allow POGOs?' – Drilon

Mar 05, 2020 - 10:36 PM

'Why are we so in love with POGOs?' Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asks sarcastically

TALE OF TWO PRESIDENTS. China is out against gambling as Philippines embraces the industry in its shores. File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

'We are losing fight' vs dirty money, Gordon tells AMLC

Mar 05, 2020 - 4:39 PM

(UPDATED) 'I don't see any enthusiasm on the part of AMLC to make this thing work,' says Senator Richard Gordon

LOSING END. Senator Richard Gordon talks to the meda after the hearing on the alleged money laundering associated with the operations of POGOs on March 5, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Drilon to Pagcor: 'Stupid mindset' to allow POGOs for money

Mar 05, 2020 - 2:46 PM

'The social problems that POGO has brought to our country is not worth the relocation fees that you earn for Pagcor. Let me tell you that right in your face,' says Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

'STUPID MINDSET'. Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon joins Senator Gordon at the hearing on the alleged money laundering linked with Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) on March 5, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

'Filipinos' safety first': Hontiveros wants Chinese 'criminals' deported

Mar 05, 2020 - 12:45 PM

The Chinese embassy says criminal cases in the country involving its citizens are only 'isolated incidents'

DEPORT. Senator Risa Hontiveros wants criminals from China deported. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

LIVE: Senate hearing on money laundering, sex trafficking in POGO industry

Mar 05, 2020 - 11:07 AM

The Senate probes alleged money laundering, crimes, and other nefarious activities associated with POGO operations

Congress passes bill requiring GMRC in K to 12 curriculum

Mar 04, 2020 - 9:38 PM

The bill is now up for the President's signature

GOOD MANNERS. Elementary students inside listen to their teacher in a pubic school in Marikina City on September 27, 2017. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Senate: ABS-CBN should continue operations pending franchise renewal

Mar 04, 2020 - 4:48 PM

(UPDATED) The Senate approves a resolution expressing its sense on the continued operations of ABS-CBN beyond franchise expiry on May 4

CONTINUE OPERATIONS. Hundreds of fans marched along Mother Ignacia and Sgt Esguerra Streets in Quezon City during the Kapanilya Fandom to support ABS CBN and the renewal of its broadcasting franchise. Carrying photos and streamers of their favorite artists and talents, they cheered and danced in a festive rally on March 1, 2020. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Gordon 'disappointed' over unsolved BuCor killings

Mar 04, 2020 - 4:19 PM

'I will call for another hearing. I don't get anything from you guys,' says a frustrated Senator Richard Gordon

UNSOLVED CRIMES. Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of Committee on Justice and Human Rights, questions the resource persons regarding the unsolved killings of government personnel particularly the ambush of Atty. Fredric Santos of the Bureau of Corrections, who was gunned down in front of his daughter's school in Mutinlupa City on February 19, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

LIVE: Senate hearing on the GCTA law

Mar 04, 2020 - 10:59 AM

Watch the hearing live on Rappler

POGOs linked to crimes: Forged PH passports, money-laundering, sex trafficking

Mar 04, 2020 - 8:00 AM

(UPDATE) Here's a rundown of issues hounding the opaque Philippine offshore gaming operations industry

POGO. A screen shows how online gambling is done. Photo by Rappler

Money laundering? Gordon says $447 million 'suspiciously' entered PH

Mar 03, 2020 - 6:26 PM

The Senate blue ribbon committee will investigate the multimillion-dollar cash flow into the Philippines on March 5

DIRTY MONEY? Senator Richard Gordon delivers his privilege speech today, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, on some controversies, particularly money laundering, involving POGO. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

'Hindi lang sunud-sunuran sa Presidente': Sotto schools newbie senators

Mar 03, 2020 - 3:37 PM

Senate President Vicente Sotto III advises Senator Ronald dela Rosa and others to participate in plenary discussions so they can convince their colleagues to take their side on issues

COUP? Senate President Vicente Sotto III says he has no problems if newbie senators want a change in leadership. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Filipinos most satisfied with Senate, least happy with Duterte Cabinet

Mar 03, 2020 - 1:28 PM

The Senate got a 'very good' +62 net satisfaction rating in the last quarter of 2019, placing it at the top of a Social Weather Stations poll on key government institutions

PHILIPPINE SENATE. The facade of the Senate building. Photo from the Senate of the Philippines Facebook page

Dela Rosa's lament: We're majority but we don't get the votes

Mar 02, 2020 - 9:41 PM

'So pasalamat dapat si Minority Leader [Franklin Drilon] because he belongs to the minority but he gets the majority vote,' says Senator Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa

BE THANKFUL? Senator Ronald 'Bato' dela  Rosa airs his 'sama ng loob' on the dynamics in the Senate. File photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler

Senate adopts resolution questioning Duterte power to solely end treaties

Mar 02, 2020 - 6:53 PM

The Senate leadership intends to ask the Supreme Court this week to rule on whether President Rodrigo Duterte can end treaties such as the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement without Senate concurrence

CONCURRENCE. Senate President Vicente Sotto III is the sponsor of the resolution asking the Supreme Court to rule on the need for Senate concurrence in treaty termination. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

[EDITORIAL] The real terror in our midst

Mar 02, 2020 - 11:01 AM

While the terrorism threat is real, laws that empower dishonest, unprofessional policemen and give these petty gunslingers super powers are the bigger threats

Senate approves anti-terrorism bill on final reading

Feb 26, 2020 - 10:49 PM

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan vote against the measure and warn of its possible abuse

DESTROYED. Remnants of what's left in Marawi after local terrorist groups attempted to take the city. Rappler file photo

Newbie senator Bong Go thinks Drilon's ABS-CBN reso reeks of politicking

Feb 26, 2020 - 8:30 PM

'Being a neophyte senator, he may not be aware of our tradition and our rules,' says Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, a 4-time Senate president

POLITICS? In this file photo, Senator Bong Go listens as Senator Franklin Drilon asks him questions. November 6, 2019. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler