Photo by NPPA

MANILA, Philippines --- Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile urged senators yesterday to participate seriously in the passage of priority measures pending in the Senate
Enrile called on senators to stay on at the Senate session hall after their names are called during the "roll call."

The Senate leader noted that the participation of senators in plenary debates is critical for the passage of administration measures such as the sin tax bill, the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill and the national budget.
"We need to finish the sin tax bill and the national budget before Congress goes on a recess for the Christmas break," Enrile said in a recent radio interview.
Enrile said he is confident the upper chamber can finish deliberations on the sin tax bill in two weeks despite the temporary setback it suffered due to Sen. Ralph Recto's resignation as chair of Senate Ways and Means committee.
Provided, that is, if no senators would go abroad or somewhere else, he said.
"In two weeks time, we can pass the sin tax bill if they will work at walang namamasyal," he said.
The Senate will resume sessions on Nov. 5, Monday, and will adjourn in Dec. 22, 2012.
About this time, Enrile hopes the Senate has passed the sin tax bill and the proposed P2.006-trillion 2013 national budget and other prominent measures still pending.
Enrile lamented that some of his colleagues in the Senate just attending the session for the roll call, and after which, one by one, is going out, until they are only three or four senators inside the session hall.
He said passage of a bill is affected due to lack of quorum.
"There are some senators who are absent, some just go there to put their names on the record during the roll call, then they escape. Some inform the secretariat they have to do something outside, others call in sick . . . they have different excuses," lamented Enrile.
"I am sure, passage of a bill is affected if only three or four senators are only present. If somebody raised the question on sin tax bill, who can work on it if somebody checks on the quorum. Sessions stop," Enrile said.
But Enrile said he force other senators to religiously participate in debates because that is their job.
"The senators are not my employers. They were elected by the people, I was not the one who elected them," Enrile said.
"I have no business enjoining them because that is their obligation to attend sessions.
"There are some senators talking about the bill outside of the Senate not inside the plenary," he said.

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