‘Senate won’t be abolished with proposed shift to federalism’
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has assured that the Senate will not be abolished even with the proposed shift to a federal form of government.
Pimentel allayed this fear when he spoke before the grand celebration of Centennial Anniversary of the Philippine Senate held at its compound in Pasay City on Monday.
The Senate, he said, has lasted for 100 years because it remains relevant to lives of the people.
“Kahit maraming panawagan diyan na ‘Change is coming,’ ‘Change has come,’ ‘Federalism will arrive,’ huwag po kayo mag-alala. Doon po sa mga nag-aaral ng federalism, actually federalism needs the Senate. Because federalism needs an Upper House,” he said.
“Kung tutuusin, isa nga sa mga natutunan ko habang inaaral namin ang federalism nang mas malalim, ay change is coming. Kapag nanatili tayong unitary, like what we have right now, then the better change is parliamentary, para mas mabilis po ang paggawa ng batas: mas mura, mas matipid,” he added.
“But if the change is federalism, then all the more we need the Senate. Because there should be an Upper House in a federal system to keep the country together,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel reiterated that he would not be remembered as the last Senate President.
“There will be more Senate Presidents after me, because the Senate will remain even after we adopt the federal form of government,” he said
“Huwag po kayong mag-alala. There will be a Senate, there will be more legislative bodies in the regions, in the state bodies. Your expertise will also be needed by these legislative bodies,” he added.
Notwithstanding many challenges, the Senate leader saw a bright future for the chamber.
Pimentel, in a separate speech during the regular session at the Senate, noted how the chamber had weathered war, dictatorship, and coups in the past century.
“We remained, we prevailed. For this we must give credit not just to the senators past and present, but to the employees of the Senate as well. We, the senators, may make headlines with our words and debates in this session hall, but without the efforts of our staff and the employees of the Senate, our institution would not have made history the way it did,” he said.
He said the Senate must continue the “tradition of excellence” so it would serve as an example to future members of the chamber.
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