SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday defended the Upper Chamber from partymate and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’ critical remark that the Senate is “mabagal na kapulungan” (slow chamber).
Pimentel urged Alvarez, his fellow Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) leader, to change his mindset and not judge the Senate’s productivity in terms of number of laws passed.
“Let us not judge lawmaking in terms of number of laws passed but in terms of how the laws we pass improve the quality of life on earth in general and the quality of life of Filipinos in particular,” said Pimentel.
The Senate President explained that the House is expected to pass more bills because measures that are local in nature emanates from the lower chamber.
“All bills renaming and or merging schools, increasing hospital beds, etc., must and do come from the House. But we must all change our mindset—from quantity to ‘quality,’” Pimentel added.
In a television interview, Alvarez criticized the Senate, calling it “mabagal na kapulungan” or slow chamber.
Reacting to the House leader’s remark, Pimentel said “the Senate is the ‘nag-aaral na kapulungan’.”
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the Senate acts “slow but sure.”
“May kasabihan: ‘Ang tumatakbo ng matulin, ‘pag natinik ay malalim’,” Sotto added.
Alvarez noted that the approval of certain measures had been either delayed or have remained pending because of the Senate. He cited as example the passage of the tax reform measure, which he said was approved early by the House of Representatives, but was delayed in the upper chamber.
The proposed re-imposition of the death penalty, he further said, had already been passed by the House but it remains pending in the Senate.
Based on the data of the Legislative Bills and Index Service as of December 13, there were 1,636 bills filed at the Senate, only nine of which were enacted into law.
Their list, however, does not include yet the 2018 budget and the first package of the tax reform program signed by the President last December 19.
Of the number, 365 bills were acted upon by the Senate, 67 are pending for second reading approval, while 1,262 are pending before the respective committees.