Sen. Robin Padilla is pushing for a measure that would mandate the government to have a Filipino translation of laws, court orders, among others, saying it was "unfair" to the masses that these documents are only in English.
The neophyte senator has filed the proposed Equal Use of Languages Act, one of the first bills he filed as a lawmaker. He topped the May 9 senatorial elections with over 26 million votes.
Padilla raised concern over the lack of Filipino translation in the laws passed by Congress and the orders given by courts, including decisions and judicial sentences.
"Parang hindi patas sa kababayan natin na hindi ko sinasabing hindi nakakaintindi ng English. Ang may kinalaman sa batas, ang English niyan masyadong hindi naiintindihan," he told reporters in an interview on Monday.
"Kailangan na talagang magkaroon ng parehas na pagtrato sa salitang Pilipino at English. Halimbawa kung may batas na nilabas na English, meron din dapat Pilipino," he added.
Padilla, who was previously detained for illegal possession of firearms, said he knows how difficult it is for a convicted person to understand his sentence if it is written in English.
"Naintindihan lang ng bilanggo ang sentensya niya ang number lang, pero bakit siya nasentensya, hindi niya alam," he said. "Kapag sinentensyahan ka dapat nababasa mo sentensya mo sa salitang Pilipino, alam mo."
Under Padilla's proposal, aside from Filipino, legal documents should also be translated in regional languages, such as Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Cebuano, and Ilonggo.
Government offices should also have a Filipino translation of documents required by citizens if they ask for it, Padilla said.
"Huwag dapat matakot ang kababayan nating mag-request. Kasi siyempre minsan nasanay tayo, masyado tayong Inglisero, masyado tayong Amboy. Dapat masanay tayong Pilipino na hingin yan. Hingin niyo," he added.
Aside from the proposed Equal Use of Languages Act, Padilla also filed a bill seeking to legalize divorce in the Philippines, which he said was meant to protect families, not destroy them.