Reelectionist senatorial candidate Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel’s claim that under his leadership as Senate President the Senate was able to deliver bills on free irrigation, free education, and increase in the base pay of the police and military needs context.
In a debate organized by GMA-7, Pimentel said he prioritized fulfilling the campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte during his almost two-year stint as Senate President, February 09.
Sa ilalim ng aking liderato nang ako po ay Senate President ng Senado, ang aking binigyan po ng priority ay ‘yung pangako, campaign promises ni President Duterte. Kaya nga ang mga pangako ni President Duterte ay hindi napako… Free irrigation binigay namin ‘yan. Free education binigay namin ‘yan. Increase in base pay of police and the military binigay po namin yan, under my leadership po ‘yan.”
(Under my leadership when I was Senate President, I gave priority to the campaign promises of President Duterte. That’s why the President’s promises were not broken… Free irrigation, we delivered that. Free education, we delivered that. Increase in base pay of police and the military, we delivered that under my leadership).
– Koko Pimentel, Debate 2019: The GMA Senatorial Face-Off, 09 February 2019
Pimentel’s claim, however, did not provide enough background on his specific role in the said laws and how lawmaking is done.
Although, the three laws he mentioned, namely the Free Irrigation Service Act (RA 10969), the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (RA 10931), and the Resolution Authorizing the Increase of Base Pay of Government Military and Uniformed Personnel (Joint Resolution No. 1), were all indeed signed by President Rodrigo Duterte under Pimentel’s term as Senate President, Pimentel did not file the two laws he claimed he prioritized.
Out of the three laws that Pimentel mentioned, he has only authored one—the Joint Resolution which increased the base pay of uniformed personnel of the government.
On May 22, 2017, the Free Irrigation Service Act was filed in the Senate as Bill No. 1465 by nine senators, which did not include Pimentel, and was signed into law by the President on February 2, 2018. Senator Cynthia Villar sponsored the bill, as chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food.
Again, Pimentel’s name was not included in the list of those who filed Senate Bill 1304 which later became the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act. In the Senate, it was filed by 12 senators on January 23, 2017, and signed into law on August 3, 2017. Senator Bam Aquino was principal sponsor of the bill.
Pimentel’s name did come up in Joint Resolution No. 1, as one of the co-authors. According to the Senate, a joint resolution has no real difference from a bill, and “generally is used when dealing with a single item or issue, such as a continuing or emergency appropriations bill.” In this case, the said joint resolution updated JR No. 4 (s. 2009) from the Gloria Arroyo Administration.
DZUP is part of the fact-checking collaborative project, Tsek.ph, which is spearheaded by the UP Department of Journalism.
“Composition of the Senate.” Senate of the Philippines. Accessed March 05, 2019. http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/composition.asp.
“FREE HIGHER EDUCATION FOR ALL ACT.” Senate of the Philippines. January 23, 2017. Accessed March 05, 2019. http://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=17&q=SBN-1304.
“FREE IRRIGATION SERVICE TO SMALL FARMERS ACT OF 2017.” Senate of the Philippines. May 22, 2017. Accessed March 05, 2019. http://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=17&q=SBN-1465.
“Joint Resolution No. 1”. Senate of the Philippines. December 11, 2017. Accessed March 05, 2019. http://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=17&q=SJR-11.
“LEDAC APPROVES LEGISLATIVE AGENDA FOR 17TH CONGRESS.” Ledac Website. (August 29, 2017.) Accessed March 05, 2019. http://ledac.neda.gov.ph/ledac-approves-legislative-agenda-for-17th-congress/.
“Legislative Process.” Senate of the Philippines. Accessed March 05, 2019. https://www.senate.gov.ph/about/legpro.asp.
“Senate oks bill on free irrigation service to small farmers.” July 25, 2017. Accessed April 26, 2019. http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2017/0725_prib1.asp.
“Sen. Bam: Tertiary Education Law Also Provides Scholarships and Loans to Students.” August 8, 2017. Accessed March 13, 2019. http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2017/0808_aquino2.asp.
“Republic Act No. 10931.” Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. August 3, 2017. Accessed March 05, 2019. https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2017/08/03/republic-act-no-10931/.
“Republic Act No. 10969.” Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. February 2, 2018. Accessed March 05, 2019. https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2018/02/02/republic-act-no-10969/.
“Joint Resolution No. 1.” Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. January 1, 2018. Accessed March 05, 2019. https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2018/01/01/joint-resolution-no-1-2/.
Roll of Senate Presidents – Senate of the Philippines. Accessed March 13, 2019. https://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/roll.asp.