‘Minority boycotted term extension bills’

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said she joined the Senate boycott last Wednesday to block alleged attempts to pass two controversial bills and not to show solidarity with Sen. Manuel Villar, who could have faced censure from his colleagues in the majority for the C-5 road controversy.

The two bills seek to reorganize the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“I am chair of the economic affairs committee, and I was never consulted on either bill. I would certainly have protested a vote on the floor this afternoon, because they have worrisome provisions,” she said.

“For example, like the pending immigration bill, the Pagcor bill seeks to grant security of tenure to the head of office,” she said.

Santiago said that reorganizing the NTC would have far-reaching consequences, because the agency has control over importations of signal jammers that could disrupt the operations of poll automation machines, cell phones, radios, and other tools for telecommunications.

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