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DRILON DEFENDS DELAY IN PASSAGE OF 6 ECONOMIC REFORM BILLS

MANILA, January 16, 2003 (STAR) Senate President Franklin Drilon defended the Senate yesterday from the charge of Speaker Jose de Venecia that the pace of economic recovery was stalled by the failure of the Senate to act on six economic reform bills.

De Venecia complained during the meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) the other day about the failure of senators to pass key measures the House had approved to rescue the nation from its economic slump.

These measures are the Securitization Act, Housing and Urban Development Act, Railway Modernization Act, the Farmland and Loan Collateral Act, a bill scrapping documentary stamp taxes on secondary trading transactions and the Transco franchise.

"We reject that this is a deliberate act on our part to hinder our economic progress. We see this unfounded criticism of the Senate as part of the overall effort to justify the change of the Constitution and advocate a unicameral or one-chamber legislature," Drilon said.

He said that each bill filed in the Senate is subjected to meticulous scrutiny and study.

"Every action we make on each and every bill is guided by our conscience, wisdom and the principle of the greatest good for the greatest number," Drilon added, while stressing that the Senate is not passing laws "for the sake of just passing laws."

Sen. Francis Pangilinan had already started sponsoring the proposed Housing and Urban Development Act. The Railway Modernization Act and Securitization Act are both pending before committees.

Sen. Joker Arroyo has already filed a committee report on the proposed bill seeking to grant franchise to the National Transmission Company.

"I am ready to sponsor the Transco bill anytime I am called by the rules committee," Arroyo said. Efren Danao


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