Senators’ banter recorded by accident

Published February 4, 2021, 4:04 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Even senators are being “scolded” for not wearing the proper attire and behavior at work.

Senators on Wednesday, February 3, shared a light moment about the proper decorum in the Senate’s hybrid plenary sessions. The session was in a brief suspension but they were recorded talking to each other in the background.

Sen. Cynthia Villar (Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The exchange started when Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao inquired about whether or not the chamber will close its session early.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, apparently unaware also that they can be heard in the Senate’s livestream, was then heard asking her staff: “Bukas ba ‘to, Dianne? Madidinig ako? (Is the mic open, Dianne? Will I be heard?)”

“Ma’am Cynthia, good afternoon,” Pacquiao said.

This prompted Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara to tease Pacquiao: “Manny, batiin mo din ‘yong hindi bilyonaryo…Kayo lang nagbabatian mga bilyonaryo dyan, eh. Batiin niyo naman ‘yong mga milyonaryo lang (Manny, please greet also those who are not billionaires. You billionaires only greet each other, how about those who are millionaires only)?”

Villar and Pacquiao are the only billionaires in the Senate, both having over P3 billion of net worths.

“Ikaw talaga kaya ka napapagalitan, eh. Kung ano-ano sinasabi mo, eh…Kaya ka napapagalitan ni Senate President kung ano-ano sinasabi mo, eh (You always get scolded for your antics. That’s why the Senate President always scolds you),” Villar told Angara.

They also talked about the wearing the proper attire during their hybrid sessions, after Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said during the plenary session on Tuesday, February 2, that Angara was wearing “his favorite Celtic uniform”, referring to the latter’s green, collared shirt.

In jest, Senate President Vicente Sotto III reminded Angara not to wear t-shirts during their sessions.

“Natakot tuloy ako, eh. Ayoko nang magT-shirt baka ako rin mapagalitan, eh,” said Villar, laughing.

“Paano mga naka-short pants (How about those who are wearing short pants)?” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon chimed in.

“Delikado, delikado (Now we’re in danger)” Angara said.

“Sige nga, tayo nga, tayo (I dare you to stand up),” Sen. Ramon Revilla was heard commenting.

“Pwede short pants, basta (Short pants are allowed, as long as they are) longer than the underwear,” Angara joked, drawing laughter from his colleagues.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, senators have been conducting hybrid hearings and sessions to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.

Five of the senators contracted COVID-19, but all have recovered.