No hiding behind the numbers in Senate, Drilon reminds newbie senators
MANILA, Philippines — Unlike in the House of Representatives with its over 300 members, the 24 senators cannot hide behind the numbers.
So said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon when he shared on Friday some tips to neophyte senators joining the 19th Congress.
As in the past, the veteran senator advised newbies to study and observe first the traditions in the Senate.
“Sa akin po dapat mag aral sila dahil po yung Senado ay parang aquarium, 24 lang sila at ang buong bansa ang nakatingin lalo na ngayong may social media…” Drilon told reporters when asked for his advice to newbie senators.
“The 24 senators would be easy to monitor as contrasted in the House where there are over 300. You can hide under the numbers there. In the Senate, you can’t do that,” he pointed out.
Also as part of the learning curve, Drilon said the neophytes should first observe the traditions in the Senate.
One rule in the Senate, for example, is that a senator cannot vote if he or she is not in the session hall.
Drilon recalled a senator who complained why he was not allowed to vote while he was in the Senate lounge.
“So in a crucial vote you must be physically present,” said the senator, whose term expires on June 30. “These are the things that you learn from actual experience because sometimes, there are occasions that one vote would make a difference.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, certain rules of the Senate were amended to allow the virtual holding of plenary sessions and committee hearings as well as voting.
Three neophyte senators— Robin Padilla, Raffy Tulfo and Mark Villar— are joining the next Congress, which will open in July.
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