You’re my ‘idol’ in crafting laws, neophyte senator ‘Bato’ tells Drilon
MANILA, Philippines — Sometimes, flattery doesn’t work.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III told this to neophyte Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa in jest after the latter referred to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon as his “idol” in crafting laws.
This happened as Drilon interpellated Dela Rosa during Monday’s plenary session on the latter’s bill seeking to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent the required quota of female officers in the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The bill, which aims to amend the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, also proposes that the annual quota of female officers in the country’s police force be increased to 20 percent in the next five years.
Drilon, a veteran lawmaker and a former justice secretary, sought several clarifications from Dela Rosa regarding the said measure.
And at one point during interpellation, Drilon touched on the Magna Carta for Women (MCW), or Republic Act No. 9710.
A provision under MCW mandates the PNP, together with other allied services, to increase women recruits to reach 50 percent five years from its passage.
Drilon asked Dela Rosa about his interpretation of the said provision under the MCW and whether or not a 50-percent female workforce in the PNP would be “feasible.”
Dela Rosa, however, was not able to directly answer and admitted that he was not sure if the 50-percent quota under the MCW was referring to the country’s entire police force or just to specific police services.
Drilon then said that for him, the “reasonable” interpretation of the law would be that the 50 percent would refer to specific services offered by police. But he said the MCW is crafted in a way that it would “appear” that the 50-percent quota was referring to the entire police force.
With this in mind, Drilon suggested that Dela Rosa’s committee, the Senate public order and dangerous drugs panel, carefully look at its proposed measure to ensure that its intended policy would be reflected.
“Introduce remedial wording so that the intention is accurately reflected in the letter of the law,” the Senate minority leader said.
In response, Dela Rosa said he would defer the interpretation of the MCW to Drilon.
“I defer it to you, whatever you think of it,” Dela Rosa, speaking partly in Filipino, told Drilon. “I respect your opinion because you are my idol when it comes to crafting laws. I know you can do this even with your eyes closes. That’s why I’m asking for your opinion.”
But chuckling at Dela Rosa’s response, Drilon said the neophyte senator would have to issue his own opinion and interpretation since he was the sponsor of the bill being deliberated on.
“We’re just raising questions here because of our desire to clarify the law,” Drilon said, further suggesting to Dela Rosa that his proposed measure on increasing female quota in the PNP should also address the “ambiguity” of the MCW.
After this, Sotto chimed in and jested: ”So, there is a lesson also to learn: That sometimes, flattery does not work.”
This elicited laughter from Dela Rosa, who agreed and responded with: “But still, I’m learning. I’m learning from the good interpellator [Drilon].”
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