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Focus on legislation, keep off leadership disputes, rookie senators told

/ 02:00 PM June 02, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday did not mince words amid the issue of a neophyte senator allegedly making a move to have Senate President Vicente Sotto III replaced.

Drilon said this following Senator Panfilo Lacson’s revelation that incoming neophyte senator Francis Tolentino was allegedly urging Senator Cynthia Villar to aim for the Senate presidency.

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READ: Tolentino urging Villar to challenge Senate presidency – Lacson

Pressed for a comment regarding the issue, Tolentino on Saturday said he will “abide by the decision of my party — PDP Laban/Hugpong.”

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Tolentino said he went to Jerusalem right after the proclamation and “haven’t caught up with the latest news.”

He added that he has highest respects Sotto.

READ: Tolentino on Senate leadership row: I’ll abide by party decision

First step: Learn the ropes

“Dito sa amin sa Senado, sana mag-aral po muna yung mga baguhan. Sasabihin ko nang diretso, bilang isang neophyte, yung pagpapalit ng Senado ay malayo pa sa mandato natin iyan. Sa isang neophyte na senador, walang susunod sa kanya kung sasabihin niya na palitan natin si SP Sotto. That’s a reality that a neophyte senator must accept,” Drilon said in an interview over radio station DZBB.

(In the Senate, they should first learn the ins and outs.  No one will listen to a neophyte senator is he wants to replace Senate president Sotto).

Drilon added that veteran senators would not follow a neophyte colleague’s move to oust Sotto unless a “mortal sin” was committed.

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The Senate minority leader then advised neophyte senators to first learn and familiarize themselves with the Senate’s ins and outs as talks of change in leadership would come at the right time.

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“Pangalawa, sa aking matagal nang karanasan sa Senado, apat na beses akong naging Senate President, nobody announces a coup against the Senate President. Kuru-kuro lang iyan, lalo na po kung nanggagaling sa mga bagito. Ang importante sa Senado ay yung pirma at hindi yung media announcements. Iyan po ang dapat maintindihan ng mga bagong senador. Mag-aral muna sila, may panahon din iyan, hindi muna ngayon,” Drilon said.

(I have been elected Senate president four times, nobody announces a coup against the Senate president. What counts is the number of votes, not media announcements, that’s what rookie senators should understand.  They should study first).

Priority: Legislation

He likewise underscored that the rookie senators were elected to office to make laws, and not figure in leadership disputes.

“Pangatlo, hinalal sila ng taumbayan para gumawa ng batas hindi kaagad na sumalpak sa leadership quarrel. Whether they like my statement or not, that’s the reality. Makinig muna sila; mag-observe muna sila, lalo na kung paano ginagawa ang isang batas, kung ano ang dapat i-research ang isang batas, ano ang considerations. Diyan muna po sila mag-concentrate at hindi yung palitan ko si Sotto,” Drilon said.

(They were elected to draft laws and not to immediately get into leadership quarrels.  They should first listen and observe, especially in how laws are made, researched and the considerations.  They should focus on these first, rather than moving to replace Senator Sotto.)

“They have not witnessed Sen. Sotto as Senate President, papalitan na. Hindi po ganon ang patakaran at tradition sa Senado,” he added.

Speaking from his experience, Drilon said that it has been a tradition in the Senate to recognize seniority.

“Unahin muna natin ang trabaho. Yung senate leadership can always come any time of the day. Sa ngayon hindi pag nag-uumpisa, siguro ngayon dapat ipakita muna natin na we are worth the mandate that we received from our people,” he added.

The newly elected senators will officially assume their posts in July when the 18th Congress opens. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)

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TAGS: Drilon, latest news, Legislation, make laws, Senate President, Tolentino
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