MANILA -- Two senators hit back at former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday after the latter criticized today's Senate for allegedly deliberating measures through coffee table discussions rather than open debates.
In a press statement released Tuesday, Enrile said that during his time in the Senate, nothing is passed without any debate.
Unlike today, they go into a coffee table and they discuss it among themselves and that's it. That's not a Senate. That's not a deliberative assembly of the people's representatives. Democracy must be open where issues are subject to intellectual dissection, he said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson disagreed with the former Senate leader, who is seeking to return to the chamber in the 2019 midterm elections.
Sotto said Enrile must have been misinformed, citing that records would show that bills and resolutions in the Senate are being thoroughly scrutinized before being passed by the chamber.
He must be being given wrong info. The bills in plenary are being debated, and languishing in plenary before passage if controversial and smoothly passed if beneficial or non-controversial and/or if bill of local application, Sotto said in a text message to reporters.
The incumbent Senate President pointed out that senators have engaged in long and, at times, heated debates in many landmark and controversial measures.
Sotto said these measures included the Bangsamoro Organic Law, coconut levy fund, rice tariffication, universal health care, Philippine ID system, revised corporation code, amendments to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) charter, tax amnesty bill, the bill ending contractualization, and the anti-discrimination bill, among others
These measures, to name a few, had very long debates. In fact, some are still in plenary as we speak, he added.
Lacson said Enrile must have been out of the Senate for too long to make such statements.
I don't know what 'coffee table' legislation he's talking about. He may have been out too long or he has forgotten how legislation works, he said in separate text message.
Exactly why there is controversy involving the already outlawed 'pork barrel' being talked about now -- it was a product of plenary interpellations on the national budget. Other measures are being thoroughly debated on the floor before being approved on second and third reading, Lacson said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency