Senators air thoughts on PH political system

Published October 13, 2020, 10:41 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The problem in the country’s political system could blamed not on the system itself, but on the “characters” of those in it, Senate President Vicente Sotto III opined on Tuesday. 

Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Practically wala namang diperensya ‘yong political system natin eh, or democratic system natin, maaring ang problema nasa characters naming mga pulitiko. (There are no defects in our political system, or our democratic system, but the problem could be with the character of us politicians),” Sotto said in a video message to reporters.

The Senate leader aired his thoughts following the change in the House of Representatives’ leadership, ending the speakership feud between Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco. On Tuesday, Velasco was formally elected on Tuesday while Cayetano tendered his irrevocable resignation.

But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the House coup is no different with the leadership issues that also occurred in the Upper Chamber.

“Blame it on the weakness of our political party system,” Drilon, also a long-time lawmaker, said.

“And, the lack of party loyalty aggravates the problem of instability. How do we strengthen it? Unfortunately, you cannot legislate qualities that the public expects of politicians,” he added.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, meanwhile, recalled his experience in both houses of Congress and differentiated the manner of electing its respective leaders.

“In our experience in the Senate, once a Senate president is presented with a resolution in favor of another senator to lead the chamber that is signed by majority of senators, usually 13, then there is no more voting on the floor and the incumbent gives way to the new president without need of voting on the floor,” Angara said.

“When I was still a congressman back around 2008, there was a change in leadership but an open vote was conducted where everyone voted and explained their vote for the speakership,” he continued.