Bickering at the Philippine Senate-A A +A
By Ben Emata
Friday, January 25, 2013
IT HAS been several days now that some senators in the Philippines are at odd with each other. It all began with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile against Senator Trillanes. The matter dragged for sometimes until another senator, Miriam Defensor Santiago, came in and fired her guns and cannons against Enrile.
The matter blew up the legislature body as heated arguments and shouting echoed in all corners of the place. As if the matter was not enough, the same senator Santiago fired more shots, hitting Sen. Panfilo Lacson. Thus, bad blood spread fast.
Of course, Sen. Lacson, who was hit badly, returned the fire by saying that Sen. Santiago was a crusading crook. This statement has landed on the lady senator with strong blow and she had to be rushed to her doctors. She was advised not to get back to the senate as she suffered a mild stroke.
Other senators were just silent but could have been dragged to the battle had the matter continued on blowing. The media covered all that and included some hurting comments from the parties that are still smoking with hatred.
Enrile, presumably feared something will happen to Santiago, voluntarily stopped from making noise. In short, there was utter ceasefire.
The quarrel was just like any fight among students in high school or in elementary schools. But while the battle among small boys and girls do not affect anything, the senatorial battle certainly affect the interest of the general public. The combatants here get big amount of money for salaries and allowances while doing nothing good for the country. This is terrific. I am very sure the general taxpayers are holding their breath as they watched for more revelations. And this is the first time that the legislature was rocked with infighting.
One of the bitter results was that a senator was reportedly paying the salaries of her housemaids and even her husband out of the senate funds. This was revealed by no less than Senate President Enrile.
This is only a small matter that surfaced during the start of the fight and we never knew still other that are illegal and not acceptable remained in the dark waiting to be exposed. Had Enrile went on with his pronouncements, perhaps more shocking matters could blow up in the minds of the general public.
In my case, I was definitely startled and shocked by such information.
The people have always thought of the Philippine Senate as a sacred body. Nobody ever thought the senators are getting a lot of money for their wages and allowances and on top are government funds being used by some of them even to pay their housemaids, etc. These expenses might even include drivers, security guards, restaurant and hotel bills and many more.
In my case, I always thought the senators are clean people and honest because we trust them to draft statutes or laws of the land. I still could not believe that some of them are using government money for their personal expense. This is just terrible.
The senators are of course powerful people in our system of government. We accord them with so much respect and honor. They are the number one people in the system. We cherish them as much as we salute the priests for honor and dignity. We uphold the men and women in the senate for their honorable works because without them, the country would not even know its own destination. They are really the leader we defend so much.
But if there are abuses committed by some of them, then our Republic will surely be in peril or in an ugly position.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 26, 2013.