(Editor’s Note: With a little less than a month before the mid-term elections in May, INQUIRER.net has decided to deviate from the usual platform interviews of senatorial and local candidates that have been aired and written about and instead get to know them up close and, perhaps a little more personal, as we hope so will you our dear readers. The series of interviews will be posted on our special election site, Vote 2013 under INQuest. Is the exercise meant to make these candidates look good? Definitely not. But we enjoin you to watch and listen and let your candidates tell their stories because, believe it or not, their stories are ours as well.)
MANILA, Philippines – Intelligence alone does not necessarily make a good senator.
Former senate president Ernesto Maceda believes that it takes years of experience—54 years in public service and 43 government positions, to be specific.
Maceda was a member of the Senate from 1970 to 1998—at one point serving as Senate President— and was Philippine Ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2001.
“I have delivered 200 exposes, authored and co-authored 600 laws, and I have been in public office for 54 years and held more than anybody else, 43 government positions. I don’t think anybody else can equal my record,” he told INQUIRER.net in a recent interview.
“I have the Maceda Law which provides protection to real estate buyers. For you to have a law named after you and it is being studied in law school is some sort of an exceptional achievement,” he said.
And at 78 years old, the former senator feels that the time is right for him to take his place among fellow lawmakers once more, feeling that the quality of debates in the Senate has been declining.
“The general impression is that if you go farther back, the better, the higher the quality of debates. As you go near the present time, it seems to me that the quality is declining,” said Maceda, a senatorial bet running under the United Nationalist Alliance [UNA].
A good senator would attend as much committee hearings as possible in a day, continue researching and studying laws, and exert the power of check and balance in the government.
But it still boils down to more than five decades in public service for Maceda.
“You must have a lot of experience and knowledge and intelligence to be able to discuss well over… 5,000 to 6,000 bills. If you don’t have an extensive background you probably will be very selective. You cannot be good enough to involve yourself in the debates of all the bills,” he said.
“Almost automatically if you have good senators you have good debates, if you have silent senators you have no debate,” Maceda added.
Usually a member of the opposition, the UNA bet believes that he can “shine more as an expose person, a fiscalizer and an independent senator. That is one thing you have to look for in a senator… hindi pwedeng yes sir ng yes sir sa Presidente.”
If he did not choose to pursue a career in politics, Maceda said that he would have become a doctor.
“In a sense, I am a doctor—a doctor of political diseases,” he said.