Stressed out, Sotto thinks of quitting Senate majority postBy Cathy Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Senator Vicente Sotto is thinking of quitting as majority leader in the next Congress.
Yes, the stress of the job is finally getting to him.
No, this was not brought on by his skirmishes with critics over the reproductive health (RH) bill and the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
“I’m not saying I’m resigning. But right now, I have an 80 percent chance of quitting as majority leader,” the senator said.
Sotto said the main problem is that he works harder than the other senators because being majority leader is like supervising traffic during Senate sessions.
As chairman of the Senate rules committee, Sotto is tasked with outlining the session’s agenda, making sure that this is followed and mediating between arguing legislators during debates.
He said the work of majority leader was not commensurate to the glamor or the power associated with the position.
“You have to work harder than the rest. Be more conscientious, master the art of compromise but still take a lot of criticism,” he said.
His civilian job as television host of the noontime show “Eat Bulaga” helps in a way, he said.
Sotto said he sometimes “injects humor” in the Senate debates mainly to “amuse myself” and stir things up when the session becomes too tedious.
He related how once Sen. Joker Arroyo took the microphone and wondered aloud where Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid was after Arroyo noticed that his colleague had suddenly disappeared.
Sotto said he would order the Senate sergeant at arms (OSAA) to scour the building for Lapid.
“If he is not here anymore, I will ask the OSAA to go to the parking lot and see if Sen. Lapid is out riding his horse,” he added.
Another time, Sotto noticed Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile humming to the Ilocano song being sung by the choir following the Monday flag ceremony.
Sotto asked the singers to leave immediately after their set “before Sen. (Ferdinand) Bongbong Marcos (Jr.) joins in the chorus.”
Right now, Sotto is still smarting from brickbats that he is using his post to delay the approval of the RH bill because he opposes the measure.
The senator also continues to weather accusations that he plagiarized parts of the speeches he delivered against the RH bill, including a 1966 speech by assassinated US senator Robert Kennedy that he allegedly translated to Filipino.
If he does resign, Sotto said he intends to work like Arroyo who does not chair a Senate committee yet pokes his finger into every bill or resolution he takes a fancy to.
“I am actually envious of Joker,” he said.
Sotto would not name a specific senator he believes should replace him in 2013.
Would Lapid fit the bill?
“Anyone can, as long as that senator reviews or studies parliamentary rules and procedures,” he said.