Sotto to Enrile: What ‘coffee table’ discussions?
MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile must have been misled, said Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III after the veteran politician claimed that the chamber engages in “coffee table” legislation.
“He must be being given wrong information,” Sotto said Wednesday.
The Senate president said that while non-controversial bills or those beneficial to the country “smoothly passed” the chamber, controversial bills undergo long debates before passage.
“The bills in the plenary are being debated and languishing in plenary before passage, if controversial, and smoothly passed if beneficial or non-controversial and/or if the bill is of local application,” Sotto told reporters in a text message.
He cited proposed laws that went through long debates such as the coco levy bill, rice tariffication bill, Bangsamoro bill, tax amnesty bill, and the universal health care bill.
“In fact, some are still in plenary as we speak,” Sotto added.
Enrile, himself a former Senate president, earlier criticized the alleged current practice in the chamber where measures were discussed in “coffee table” manner without any debate.
He said during his 24 years in the Senate, nothing was passed without any debate.
“Today, they go into a coffee table and they discuss it among themselves and that’s it. That’s not a Senate,” Enrile said in a statement.
Enrile said it was one of the reasons why he was seeking a comeback in the Senate in 2019.
Sotto said Enrile stayed in the Senate for only 23 years, not 24. He noted that Enrile’s term from 1987 to 1992 as a senator was only five years. /cbb
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