Jinggoy back at work behind bars
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has returned to work after the lifting of his 90-day preventive suspension over the plunder charges against him, filing five new bills that he hopes his colleagues will consider passing.
Estrada, who remains in detention, on Monday refiled bills that he had endorsed during the 15th Congress but which have not become law. The topics covered include better rest rooms and dormitories, stronger protection for victims of certain crimes, and a safer environment for tattooing and body piercing.
Estrada’s suspension ended on Nov. 29, which means that he can resume performing the functions of a legislator, except voting on a measure since this would require his physical presence at the Senate.
One of the bills that Estrada is pushing seeks to put in place guidelines to ensure the confidentiality of addresses of the victims of violence against women and children.
He said the victims should be provided substitute addresses in public records as this would help them start and lead normal lives and help protect them from their accusers.
He noted that from 2004 to 2013, there had been a huge increase in the number of cases involving violence against women and children, from 218 to 16,517 reported incidents.
Another bill he filed provides guidelines and minimum requirements for the operation of dormitories and boarding houses, to see to it that these temporary homes for students would be safe, clean and conducive to learning and living.
Under the measure, these living spaces should have adequate lighting, proper ventilation, enough room to move around, fire protection facilities, study rooms, first aid equipment, garbage disposal systems, and closed circuit televisions.
It also seeks to require local government units to issue licenses for dormitories and boarding houses, prescribe minimum rentals and impose annual fees.
Estrada has also filed a bill that would require private and government institutions to put up separate functional and sanitary rest rooms for persons with special needs and abilities, as well as another measure that will regulate tattooing and body piercing, including a ban on minors undergoing the procedures.
He is also proposing a law that will define the crime of identity theft, which would provide harsh penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment and a P5 million fine for offenders. The bill would task the National Statistics Office and the Department of Justice to help identity theft victims and correct the records.
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