Speaker Al­varez calls sen­a­tors ‘slow’

Manila Bulletin - - National News - By ELL­SON A. QUIS­MORIO

House Speaker Pan­ta­leon Al­varez took a swipe at his fel­low law­mak­ers in the Sen­ate over the al­leged snail-paced per­for­mance of their job.

In a re­cent press con­fer­ence, the out­spo­ken House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives (HOR) leader called the Sen­ate the “Maba­gal na Ka­pu­lun­gan” or Slow Cham­ber.

This is a play on the usual tag on the House as the “Lower Cham­ber” whereas the Sen­ate is sup­pos­edly the “Higher Cham­ber.”

For con­text, Al­varez was asked dur­ing the presser if the brew­ing im­peach­ment cases at the House would some­how in­ter­fere with the on­go­ing bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions at the Sen­ate. As per the process, im­peach­ment raps that are found to have prob­a­ble cause are raised by the HOR to the Sen­ate im­peach­ment court.

“Itanong mo ’yan doon sa Maba­gal na Ka­pu­lun­gan, huwag dito sa amin (You ask that to the Slow Cham­ber, not to us here),” replied Al­varez, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of rul­ing party Par­tido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDPLa­ban).

“Dahil dito, ki­nakaya namin la­hat. Kung kailan­gang mag-over­time’s kami para ta­pusin ang tra­baho namin, nag-o-over­time kami (Be­cause here, we strive to fin­ish ev­ery­thing. If we need to work over­time to fin­ish the job, we do it),” he said.

It can be re­called that the House ap­proved on 3rd and fi­nal read­ing the pro­posed P3.767-tril­lion na­tional bud­get for 2018 last month. Con­gress­men, who pos­sess the power of the purse, ac­com­plished the task in record time.

Al­varez claimed that they’re no strangers to work­ing dur­ing un­godly hours just to ful­fill their man­date.

“In­abot kami ng alas-kuwa­tro ng umaga para mag­tra­baho at ta­pusin kung ano yung da­pat nam­ing ta­pusin (We end up work­ing at 4 a.m. just to be able to fin­ish what we’re sup­posed to fin­ish).”

Step it up Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Koko Pi­mentel is a party-mate of Al­varez. In fact, Pi­mentel is PDP-Laban pres­i­dent.

There are two im­peach­ment cases that are likely to add to sen­a­tors’ work­load--those in­volv­ing Supreme Court (SC) Chief Jus­tice Maria Lour­des Sereno and Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec) Chair­man Andy Bautista.

Of the two cases, Bautista’s will be raised to the Se­na­tor-judges for a trial while that of Sereno’s is one House hear­ing away from be­ing deemed to have prob­a­ble cause by con­gress­men.

Re­fer­ring to this added work­load, Al­varez ba­si­cally told Pi­mentel and the rest of the sen­a­tors to step it up.

“Well, pan­gatawanan nila. Nagpa-elect sila na senador. Yun ang tra­baho ta­laga (Well, they should man up. They had them­selves elected as sen­a­tors. That’s what the job calls for),” the Speaker said.

There are cur­rently 293 elected con­gress­men in the Philip­pines, over 10 times the num­ber of sen­a­tors.

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