Speaker Alvarez calls senators ‘slow’
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.