frank drilon

Fellow senators defend Sen. Bam’s role in free college law

Several senators came out to defend the important role of re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino in the passage of the free college law.

Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Joel Villanueva and Franklin Drilon all stressed the importance of Sen. Bam’s hard work in passing the landmark that is being enjoyed by millions of Filipino students.

It was Sen. Lacson who first recognized Sen. Bam’s work via a tweet, saying the young senator should be given credit for the passage of the free college law as he was the one who defended it from the thorough questioning of his fellow senators.

In an interview, Sen. Lacson lauded Sen. Bam for his determination in passing the Free College Law as its principal sponsor.

“Kapag napag-uusapan ang libreng matrikula sa kolehiyo, ang unang naiisip ko, si Senador Bam Aquino. Alam kong siya ang nagtiyagang itulak ito sa Senado bilang author at principal sponsor ng Free Tuition Law,” Sen. Lacson said.

Sen. Drilon, for his part, said Sen. Bam was instrumental in making the free college law a reality to give the country’s youth a chance at a bright future.

“He’s a man who is sincerely concerned for our welfare- especially sa future ng kabataan,” said Sen. Drilon, who also recognized Sen. Bam as a dependable ally of the Filipino people in the Senate.

Sen. Villanueva also recognized Sen. Bam’s determination in pushing for the passage of the free college law.

Sa pagsusulong po ng Free Tuition Law, naging major major kasangga po natin si Senator Bam Aquino,” said Sen. Villanueva, adding that Sen. Bam deserves a second term in the Senate.

“Palaging handang magsilbi sa bayan. Iyan po si Senator Bam Aquino. Ibalik po natin siya sa Senado,” added Sen. Villanueva.

If re-elected, Sen. Bam has committed to push for the enactment of his Trabaho Center Bill, which seeks to address the problems of jobs mismatch and unemployment in the country.

The bill seeks to establish “Trabaho Centers” or Job Placement Offices (JPOs) in public high schools and state universities and colleges (SUCs) to address the skills mismatch and ensure employability of students upon graduation.

Sen. Drilon to fellow Ilonggos: Make Sen. Bam No. 1 senator in Iloilo City

Sen. Bam Aquino’s re-election bid in the May elections received a major boost after he was endorsed by Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon in his hometown of Iloilo City.

In a rally in Iloilo City on Wednesday, Drilon called on his fellow Ilonggos to make Sen. Bam their No. 1 senator in the upcoming polls.

“Dapat No. 1 si Bam dito sa city. Iyan ang hinihiling ni Sen. Drilon sa inyo dito. Dahil makakatulong siya sa kapakanan ng mga Ilonggo,” Drilon told the crowd at the North Fundidor Gym in Molo.

“He’s one of the brightest Senators I’ve worked with. He’s sincere. He’s a man who is sincerely concerned for our welfare- especially sa future ng kabataan,” added Drilon, saying Sen. Bam is the first senatorial candidate in the May elections that he’s endorsed.

Drilon described Sen. Bam and the Aquino family as a dependable ally in the development of the province of Iloilo, citing some projects that were funded during the previous administration.

“Sa aking pananaw, ang ating city kailangan pa ng tulong. Kailangan ko si Bam. Kasi 24 kami. Kung ako lang, mahihirapan ako. Kailangan ko ng maaasahan sa Senado. At si Senator Bam ay maaasahan,” Drilon emphasized.

Drilon also laid down Sen. Bam’s legislative accomplishments, saying he pushed for the passage of several important laws that focus on the welfare of the Filipino people, including the free college law that is being enjoyed by thousands of Ilonggo students.

In a separate interview, Sen. Bam thanked Sen. Drilon for his overwhelming support for his candidacy.

“Napakalaking bagay ng endorsement ni Sen. Drilon dito sa Iloilo. Mahal na mahal sya at nirerespeto ng mga Ilonggo,” said Sen. Bam, who has 40 laws to his name in his almost six years as senator.

Senate Minority Bloc urges gov’t institutions to preserve their independence

The Senate Minority Bloc on Independence Day called on various institutions of democracy such as the Congress and Supreme Court to assert their independence.
“Now, more than ever, it is important for our democratic institutions to show their independence amidst the complicated and divisive political environment that we have today,” they said in a statement.
The Senate Minority Bloc is composed of Senators Franklin M. Drilon as the minority leader, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Benigno Paulo “Bam” Aquino IV, and Leila De Lima, all belonging to the Liberal Party; Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV; and Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros.
“We will not be able to protect our people if we do not preserve our independence and integrity as institutions of democracy,” they said.
“Let us not allow others to dishonor and disrespect our institutions, because doing so is an insult to the memory of the brave and selfless Filipinos who fought for our freedom as a nation,” said Drilon.
Trillanes stressed that “it is in everyone’s interest that we guard the independence of our institutions.” 
“As we celebrate our Independence today, let us breathe life to the liberties that were fought for us by our forerunners by defending the independence of our institutions and by keeping dissent alive in the face of tyranny,” Trillanes said.
Pangilinan and Aquino, for their part, said that the people should continue to guard the democracy in light of the proliferation of “fake news” and misinformation.
“Sa pagyabong ng social media, lumaganap din ang fake news na nagbabanta sa katotohanan at nagdudulot ng kalituhan. Nais nating mga Pilipino na maging malaya mula sa fake news at kasinungalingan,” said Pangilinan.
“We fought for independence from foreign rule. We fought for freedom from a ruthless dictator. Now, we fight terrorism, encroachment on our territory and our freedom to dissent.  In an era of fake news, rabid online persecution and weak political institutions, we need to fight for our democracy now more than ever,” Aquino said. 
Hontiveros, for her part, said that “independence and freedom will have no sense without democracy.”
“Our freedom can only be guaranteed by strong democratic institutions. I call on the public to honor the sacrifices of our heroes by opposing a Martial law declaration that is not compliant with the constitution. Let us always remember, the promised order of tyranny will never bring us to full democracy,” she added.

Joint statement on Sen. De Lima’s removal as Committee on Justice chairperson


Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, Senator Francis Pangilinan, Senator Bam Aquino, and Senator Risa Hontiveros


We are deeply saddened by the events that transpired yesterday. Elementary courtesy dictates that we as members of the majority bloc of the Senate should have been consulted. The concerns of our colleagues could have been addressed if there was an opportunity for a dialogue.

No consultation or dialogue took place.

We recognize that the removal of Senator Leila De Lima as chair of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights as a political reality.

 Having said that, our alliance with the majority has always been based on the reforms that we believe will propel our nation to greater economic, political and social heights. We will continue to pursue these agenda.

As long as we believe that these reforms can be achieved, we will remain with the majority.

Coming from the events that transpired yesterday, we must remain vigilant and continue to assert the independence of the Senate.

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