‘Bullying’ in Senate probes? Sotto, Lacson explain why senators get ‘passionate’ in inquiries
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go previously said uncovering the truth during Senate investigations should not lead to “bullying,” but two among the Senate’s most veteran members said senators only turn “passionate” due to evasive resource persons.
“It depends on what you mean by bullying, perhaps that’s his opinion e. Some of us—I have been through worse…I have been here since the 9th Congress, 10th Congress,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in an INQside Look interview, which aired on Friday.
“Mild nga yung ngayon e [What we’re seeing now is mild compared to before]. So really, it depends on your perspective,” he added.
In his years of experience as a senator, Sotto explained that members of the Senate tend to lose their cool if a resource person they are questioning thinks they can fool senators.
“Ganito ang nakikita ko through the years, ang nakakainis, yung kausap mo, akala naloloko ka niya, do’n nagagalit yun [senators] e. If incompetent people cannot recognize incompetence, they also cannot recognize wisdom,” the Senate president said.
(This is what I’ve seen through the years, what annoys senators is when the person we’re questioning thinks he can fool us, that’s what triggers senators to get angry. If incompetent people cannot recognize incompetence, they also cannot recognize wisdom.)
“Ang problema, akala nila pareho nilang magisip yung kausap nila e. Magpalusot ka lang, lulusot ka, hindi ganun e. Evasive is a very soft word to use,” he added.
(The problem is when those resource persons think they have the same thinking as the senators they are talking to. They think that if they are able to wriggle through the question, they will be able to get away with it. That does not happen. Evasive is a very soft word to use.)
Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson said that “passionate” would be a more apt word to describe senators during Senate hearings.
“Siguro instead of bullying, merong mga senador na mas passionate. Siguro sa hirap na dinanas nila pagko-collate ng mga materials, tapos harap harapan, lolokohin ka, evasive, magsisinungaling, so yung iba siyempre nadadala na rin yung kanilang…bugso ng damdamin…dahil kung harapan niloloko ka, ‘di ba magre-react ka maski papaano?” Lacson said in the same interview.
(Maybe instead of bullying, there are senators who are more passionate. Maybe because of the hardship they went through in collating materials, then a resource person will just outright deceive you, lie, of course some senators will get tired of it and can’t control their emotions…because you’re fooled, won’t you react in some way?)
“So tama si Senate President, it depends on how you define bullying or how you describe bullying. Kung out of passion, medyo tumaas yung boses kasi nga harap harapan yung lokohan, I don’t think that’s bullying,” he added.
(So the Senate President is right, it depends on how you define bullying or how you describe bullying. If it’s out of passion, voices are raised because of outright lying, I don’t think that’s bullying.)
Lacson and Sotto, who are the first tandem to confirm their presidential and vice presidential bids in the 2022 polls, were asked regarding the remarks earlier made by Go, a neophyte senator.
Go, in a privilege speech earlier this week, lamented that Senate inquiries should not lead to “bullying” in order for anomalies to be uncovered.
“If we already have a conclusion even before getting all the facts, then we have failed in providing the people true and accurate information. Aren’t we all for the truth? I am one with you here in the committee. I am with you, all my colleagues here, in finding out the truth,” Go said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“You know, we are together especially in this fight against corruption in government — I hope in the right way, not through bullying,” he added.
Go delivered his privilege speech amid the Senate blue ribbon committee’s investigation on the “overpriced” medical goods procured by Department of Health through the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) at the height of the pandemic last year.
Go had decried attempts to link him to former DBM-PS head Lloyd Christopher Lao, whom senators had been grilling over the controversial procurement.
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