Ralph and Vilma Recto face each other at bicam committee hearing
For the first time on Wednesday, Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, a former actress, faced each other at the Senate, not as husband and wife, but as members of the bicameral conference committee on a measure, extending the validity period of driver’s license to five years.
The couple arrived together at the committee hearing, which was presided over by Sen. Grace Poe as chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services.
At the start of the hearing, Senator Recto addressed his wife as the “beautiful lady of Batangas.”
At one point, he asked in jest permission from his wife as he proposed some amendments to the House of Representatives’ version of the bill.
“Baka wala na akong lisensya mamaya pag uwi ko eh,” he said.
Some members of the bicameral committee also poked fun at the couple.
Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that Mrs. Recto’s presence at the hearing would be disadvantageous to the Senate as Senator Recto might just agree with his wife.
Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, head of the House contingent as chairman of the Committee on Transportation, joined the fun when Recto proposed another recommendation, this time telling the body, still in jest, that he had received advance information from his wife.
“If I may recommend – nabulungan na din ako ng asawa ko dito…”
Reacting to the senator, Sarmiento said: “That’s one of the reasons why I included your spouse – so that we can have a smooth discussion.”
“I have to register my very serious reservation,” Drilon said.
Turning serious, Sarmiento clarified that Mrs. Recto was not a member of the House panel but also co-author of the bill. Senator Recto was also one of the authors of the proposed legislation in the Senate.
The room erupted into laughter when Drilon joked again that the couple had probably already conducted their own bicam at home.
“Ganun naman pala. Akin na yung version nyo. Bakit pa tayo nag-aaksaya ng oras dito,” Poe said.
In an interview after the hearing, Mrs. Recto admitted being conscious during the hearing as they were being put on the spot.
She and her husband had already discussed the bill at home and they reached a “compromise” agreement on it.
“Because they kept on teasing, dahil totoo naman, nauna na yung bicam namin ni senador sa bahay kasi bill niya bill ko din. Totoo naman kaya kahit papano meron na kaming compromise na dalawa sa bahay pa lang but again iba pa rin pag nanadidito na sa floor,” she said.
“I guess the most important thing is napasa at malaking maitutulong nito sa drivers natin,” she added. “Pero uulitin ko nga: Iba yung nakapag-bicam na kami sa bahay. Madaling intindihin. So I guess I’m lucky to have a mentor like my husband, Senator Ralph Recto.”
For his part, Senator Recto said: “Mahirap mag-focus sa trabaho hapag kaharap ko si Vi: Sobrang ganda.” /atm
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