July 23, 2012
Senate celebrates silver anniversary
The Third Senate will celebrate its 25th anniversary on July 26.
Deputy Secretary for External Affairs and Relations Peter Paul L. Pineda said the Senate will hold simple ceremonies to commemorate the historic event. "There will be no funfare. We just want to celebrate the fact that the Senate has been leading the Congress in passing significant laws for the last 25 years since it reconvened in July 1987.
"The year 1987 marked the rebirth of democracy in our country when the Senate opened its first Regular Session after Edsa Revolution. I remember Senator Salonga's remark that it was fitting that the first Senate Session after martial law was to be held in the same old Congress building, now the National Museum, that was padlocked when martial law was declared," Pineda added.
According to him, the Congress, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives, was created under the Philippine Autonomy Act, more popularly known as the Jones Law, which was passed by the US Congress and signed by US President Woodrow Wilson on August 29, 1916.
It served as the legislative body of the Philippines from October 16, 1916 until it was succeeded by a unicameral National Assembly upon the inauguration of the Commonwealth on November 15, 1935, as provided for in the 1935 Constitution.
In 1941, the Constitution was amended by Constituent Assembly, reinstating the bicameral system. Elections were held in November but the elected senators did not convene as the country got involved in World War II in December 1941. Immediately after the war, the Second Senate convened in 1945.
In 1972, martial law was declared and Congress was abolished. The 1987 Constitution restored the bicameral Congress as it is today, and brought forth what we now aptly call the Third Senate.
Landmark legislations, as mandated in our Constitution, such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the Local Government Code, the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, among others, were all enacted during the first five years when the Senate reconvened.
"To give tribute to our esteemed Senate Presidents, from the 8th Congress to the present, whose brilliant leadership has unfailingly sustained the Senate's character as a bastion of democracy, a fitting ceremony will be dedicated to them on July 26."
The 10 Senate Presidents are Jovito Salonga (1987-1991); Neptali Gonzales (1992-1993, 1995-1996, 1998); Edgardo Angara (1993-1995); Ernesto Maceda (1996-1998); Marcelo Fernan (1998-1999); Blas Ople (1999-2000); Franklin Drilon (2000, 2001-2006); Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel (2000-2001); Manuel Villar (2006-2008); and Juan Ponce Enrile (2008-present).
In the same program, Professor Leonor Briones of the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance will present a paper on the institution's performance for the past 25 years.
"Not to be forgotten, a recognition program will also be held in honor of the 30 men and women of the Secretariat and staff whose presence and dedicated service when the Senate reconvened in 1987, made possible the conduct of the first Regular Session of the 8th Congress. Having served the Institution for 25 years, they likewise deserve to be recognized and rewarded," Pineda concluded.
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