MANILA, MAY 30, 2011 (STAR)
By Christina Mendez - Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed 882 bills and resolutions, more than any other senator for this year’s session, records at the Senate bills and index division showed.

“(I) worked my ass off” in filing bills, Santiago said, even if she went on an extended sick leave last year to send the message that the main task of the Senate is legislation and not criminal investigation.

“Although I was absent for several months because of hypothyroidism, I tried hard to be diligent. Plus, I have a great staff,” Santiago said yesterday.

“A public hearing on a controversial issue generates a lot of publicity, but usually the result is merely a recommendation to the ombudsman. In contrast, Internet research is very quiet and solitary, but one bill could make a difference in the lives of people,” she said.

The total number of bills and resolutions filed by the other senators during the 15th Congress are: Jinggoy Estrada, 581; Manuel Villar, 539; Antonio Trillanes IV, 394; Lito Lapid, 239; Loren Legarda, 198; Francis Escudero, 154; Ramon Revilla Jr., 150; Edgardo Angara, 117; Miguel Zubiri, 90; Pia Cayetano 74; Vicente Sotto III and Franklin Drilon, 45; Francis Pangilinan, 43; Juan Ponce Enrile and Teofisto Guingona III, 40; Ferdinand Marcos Jr., 39; Gregorio Honasan, 34; Sergio Osmea III, 33; Panfilo Lacson, 31; Joker Arroyo, 23; Alan Cayetano, 20; and Ralph Recto, 11.

Santiago meanwhile said her proposal to file a “pay-to-stay” program in jail seems to have been misinterpreted by certain critics.

“The country needs nationwide penal reform. As usual there is no money. The pay-to-stay program forces rich prisoners to pay the money which will be used to improve the detention facilities of poor prisoners,” she said.

She said her proposal would only “manage the bribery that is widespread today in national penitentiaries and city jails.”

“In jail, if you are rich, you can live like a maharajah. By contrast, if you are poor, you live like a sewer rat. So we must adopt the Robin Hood concept – making the rich pay for the poor,” she said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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