Invectives in Senate cannot be deleted

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

“I don’t want anybody to read that (Sen. Miriam Santiago’s attack against Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile) . I don’t want anybody from America or Europe to read those things.”
--Sen. Serge Osmeña, when asked if he’d like his grandchildren to read Santiago’s privilege speech

SEN. SERGIO OSMENA III of Cebu would like the Senate to remove from Senate records the speeches of feuding senators Miriam Santiago and Juan Ponce Enrile.

If what he wants is for the invectives and insults to disappear, he should think again. Text of the speeches and news stories and comments about them were published online and would be there forever ("when it's out there, it stays there").

Unlike pre-internet age, before multi-platform, round-the-clock publishing, they could expunge speeches from Senate books and yet not erase them from easily-accessible digital files elsewhere.

But Serge would serve notice to senators, present and future, that offensive language shouldn't be part of the Senate debate and offenders should account for each violation.

Defining trash

Assuming the Senate hasn't defined what is "un-parliamentary," senators should be able to recognize trash talk, as in pornography, when they hear or read it.

JPE called Miriam "a cuckoo, an insane mind."

Miriam said JPE was "mastermind of plunder" and "psychopathic hyper-sexualized serial womanizer."

Among many other slanders.

The sense of the ethics committee on what is garbage should prevail. But then, wow, by golly, the Senate still has to organize an ethics committee.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 12, 2013.


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