How did the Senate perform in the last three years?
For former Senator Richard Gordon, it performed poorly despite its accomplishments such as convicting former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renator Corona and passing crucial laws.
Gordon, who is running for senator, lamented his then colleagues failed to facilitate a sound and good debate on equally important issues other than laws on sin tax and reproductive health.
“Perhaps, the senators did have sufficient debates. That’s bad. That deprives the people of good information where we can understand the issues on how senators made a policy called law,” Gordon told Yahoo! Southeast Asia.
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Running under the ticket of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Gordon explained the Senate was not able to give a deeper discussion on how to properly deal with the country’s territorial row with China.
The Philippine Red Cross chair added senators made a drama out of the leadership crisis in the Senate. He said lawmakers should have discussed steps to address the situation in Tubbataha Reef instead.
And instead of mudslinging, he explained it would have been better if senators gave more time questioning the business of USS Guardian in the West Philippine Sea before it ran aground in Tubbataha Reef.
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Gordon, who ran and lost in the 2010 presidential elections, explained the insufficient debates about the Anti-Cybercrime Law in the Senate is now giving the SC an upper hand in interpreting the laws.
“If people voted for those who are not knowledgeable and who do not debate in a time that questions the intention of any law, the Supreme Court will look at records of debate for any justification,” Gordon explained.
“If they open and found out there were no debates, we making the SC more powerful to interpret (laws of the land). And that's why we need quality people in the Senate,” he added.
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Last year, questionable provisions slipped right under the noses of some senators, who were absent during the approval on the bill against cybercrime in the bicameral conference.
Gordon issued the statement after Senator Franklin Drilon said “the Senate reached heights, which no Congress achieved” prior the 15th Congress with Corona’s conviction on articles of impeachment.
“It is quite unfortunate that the 15th Congress ended with quarrels among my colleagues. But in terms of what we achieved, we achieved a lot,” Drilon said.
“We reformed measures, which could not have happened in the past administrations,” he added referring to passage of a new law reforming the tax system on sin products.
Aside from the Sin Tax Reform Law that has been expected to improve health facilities and services, the Senate also helped in the enactment of laws on responsible parenthood as well as Kasamabahay Act.