Would the Senate kindly stop interfering with Executive and write some needed laws?



The Senate reminds me of a nagging mother-in-law, always feeling a need to insert herself into other people’s affairs. She justifies this nosy interference by citing the phrase “in aid of legislation” or various inane legalisms, and then proceeds to interfere.

Here’s the deal. Executive leads by providing government services and defending the nation. Legislative writes the laws and crafts the budget. Judiciary interprets the laws and assigns punishment to law-breakers.

When the Senate withholds BBL legislation, it blocks Executive from doing its job. It dismisses three years of earnest, peaceful work and contributes to the INSECURITY of the state. When the Senate holds a trial looking for culprits of a police action that went wrong, the Senate inserts itself into the disciplinary role of Executive, undermines the integrity of Philippine police and military, and contributes to the INSECURITY of the state. When the Senate inserts itself into defense and military agreements, blocking Executive from doing the critical job of making sure the Philippines is as strong as she can be in defense of her territory and sovereignty, the Senate is contributing to the INSECURITY of the state.

Meanwhile, the Philippines languishes with poor land use laws that permit chopping up of the lands without regard for preservation or erosion or citizen safety, contributing to the long-term INSECURITY of the state.

What side is the Senate on, anyway?

It is a body of egos more interested in stamping everything “authorized” and unwilling to let the leaders of the Philippines lead.

Yes, checks and balances and oversight are important, as quiet, routine work or on exceptional matters. But not as standard practice. Standard practice ought to be to let Executive do the job that voters expect, LEADERSHIP. DEFENSE. Moving the Philippines forward with pace, with a sense of purpose.

No wonder the Philippines can’t grow, can’t get wealthy, is sloppy in land use and poor at defending consumer interests. No wonder it is a weak and unsafe place. No wonder it moves in fits and starts. Anything that hits the front pages of the tabloid newspapers requires a Senate hearing. As if popular whims and emotional immaturity concocted by the tabloids are more important than doing good work to make the nation safer and wealthier.

“Cmon, JoeAm. We know you have people in mind. Put it out there the way we Filipinos like it!”

Yeah right.

People to be wary of are those who believe only their view of matters is correct, who have neither the will nor capacity to grant others the right to do things differently. We have seen it recently in Senators Santiago, Marcos, Escudero, and . . . yes . . . Poe. And you can be assured that when those of little bend are in charge, they will have little tolerance for criticism. Tolerance. Same root as intolerant. Same as totalitarian. So beware of elevating them to higher positions.

Good managers delegate trust, and consideration that people do things differently, downward. Good subordinates delegate trust and consideration upward. Good team players delegate trust and consideration sideways.

I apologize to my mother-in-law, for she is a smart and kind woman and solves problems rather than causes them.

The Senate, on the other hand, is under-performing at the law-writing work that is desperately needed. Is this incompetence or is it devious work to support the culture of impunity and the nation’s wealthy elite? I don’t know. I do know that the Lords are so busy sticking their noses and hands in everyone else’s pies that they are not doing the state’s work.

It is very simple. If you don’t let Executive lead, you get a failed state.

If you don’t write laws that protect the nation’s resources and people, you get a failed state.


54 Responses to “Would the Senate kindly stop interfering with Executive and write some needed laws?”
  1. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Dear Joe,

    We cannot make laws right now. We are busy investigating. Busy for the past years. We love to investigate. Because we are covered and broadcast by naive ignorant journalists. We are not politicking. We are not campaigning. Just between the two of us, yes we are surreptitiously covertly campaigning. The people can’t know it. The Filipinos don’t know it. They cannot know the difference. It is difficult for them to know. But we are. For Free. Thanks to the Philippine Media.

    We hijack the responsibility of National Bureau of Investigation. With one caveat, to besmirch the person we do not want to run for the next presidential election. He stole more than what we have allotted him. We wanted him out. We offered him olive branch not to run. Yet he still wanted to run. He is greedy. There are still 99,999,999 Filipinos waiting in line to steal. He should not monopolize. It is unfair for others. The situation he is in now is hisown making. He wanted more. He wanted Nancy, Elenita, Abigail and Junior to be next in line. He wanted the highest office of the land. To greed some more.

    To tell you the truth, the laws that we make are inspired and copied from the U.S. so that the rest of the days we can troll who to attack those that we did not want to run who are already busog. The deliberation are just muro-muro. In the coming months there will be more vicious attacks against the crooks so the limelight will be on us. Election is coming. We do not have PDAF and DAP to buy votes. A very cute way of campaigning for free in the guise of legislation.

    We are not investigating PDAF and DAP. If we did we’d be investigating our own. Napoles is a good scapegoat. Nobody knows it. How else could non-U.P.Napoles conjure ghost NGOs without consulting U.P.graduate lawmakers. Napoles is a perfect goat.

    We honorable senators cannot plug in the holes that Binay shone on. We will take advantage of that hole. This is our time. It is our turn. We do not need more laws. What good are laws when nobody implements it. We have Senate prosecutors that cannot know how to prosecute when they are the ones making the laws. Actually, we do not know what the laws we are passing. We just sign-off on it as long as there are references where it is coming from: The U.S.A. If laws were made in U.S.A. it must be goot.

    Just walk the streets of EDSA. In any given moment laws are violated wantonly. Go to any government offices, you’ll see reality show of corruption.

    We promise you, Joe, we will leave some for those next in line.

    Your honorable public servants, Honorable Senators

    Basketball Player
    Coup plotters

    • Joe America says:

      You have that exactly right. The Blue Ribbon Subcommittee hearings have done the Philippines a great service, but one must wonder why, exactly, Ernie Mercado had to go to the Senate to get the Ombudsman’s attention, and COA’s, and DOJ’s, and the AMLC.


  2. karl garcia says:

    I like the Binay investigations, but even that is taking too long.I have been a worn out vinyl record in questioning the law writing,if ther schedule is to heavy why not allow people to go straight to plebiscite on foi,dynasty law,land use,even bbl.Maybe it is time for direct democracy. The power of the purse has prblems to as discussed earlier.

    • Joe America says:

      Agree entirely. They had him on the garage, and how great it would have been if they had immediately written that up and sent it to the Ombudsman and AMLC. That was months and months and months ago. Now we are pushing up against a deadline, and their report draft was just issued.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Why is Binay Crime Family investigations taking soooo long? Goot question. Executive Branch interfering with the Senate investigation? Remember Benigno admonishing Senate about drib-a-drab evidences and witnesses? Trillanes backed off. There was never a push back against Benigno’s interference.

      Was Benigno right? Was he wrong? We cannot know. Very difficult to know. This I can tell Corona’s investigation was the swiftest investigation in the life of Philippine History. It did not involve gazillions of pesos. It only involved Corona’s decisions on PAL, TRO, Hacienda Luisita. Corona’s dollar account was lose change compared to Binay Crime Family. Why? Because the pointman was Benigno. After Corona was forced to abdicate his throne the investigation of his dollar account came to a screeching halt. No further investigation where the dollars came from.

      If only Binay accepted that he not run for presidency it would have been forgive and forgets.

      Something is not right. Something is wrong. Benigno have difficulty anointing Mar. Why? What has Binay that Benigno knows Binay has against Benigno? Or, is there?

      Thrilla in Manila !!!!

  3. josephivo says:

    1. It would be interesting to see a full agenda of a senator. What does he do himself? Where does he just stamp the work of his team (what is the size of that team, who are they?). Where the team does just copy the proposals of lobbyists? (In other countries proposals prepared by the party are most common, but parties with ideas do not exist here, only alliances.)

    2. I am a strong believer in the Plan – Do – Check – Act circle, starting with Check. Also for law making. A Check clearly indicates that implementation is the major problems. So the Act questions become: no implementation because of “lack of resources?” or “lack of knowledge?” or “lack of motivation?” The answer could be that the executive is not motivated to implement. Why? Over-complexity might be a second reason, so no need to write extra laws, but to eliminate laws, no need for central solutions but for regional or local solutions.

    3. Most often I miss the “line of sight”: This law did not have this effect or this effect did not ultimately achieve this and therefore we will change the law to improve the effect or to ensure that the effect realizes the goal. Current laws made overpricing possible because of …, we will prevent it this way…

    4. Clear are the personalities, unclear are the ultimate convictions. Form over content.

    5. In the Philippines all is easy because nothing has consequences, except stepping out of the expected group behavior. Senators have to grand-stand on one hand, eat with there fingers with the other hand.

    • Joe America says:

      1. Yes indeed. Some seem never to be in the picture (Lapid, Recto, Villar). Does that mean they are not doing anything, or we are just not getting the news?

      2. PDCA. I lived that system for 13 years with the Japanese owners of our bank. Each unit’s plan was on one page. Focus. Measured results. Candid “checks”. Why does the Legislature have to wait for Executive to assign priority work? And why is a Land Use Law not on top of the list?

      3. New concept to me, but seems critically important in the “check” phase. The Constitution needs checking.

      4. Yep.

      5. “All is easy because nothing has consequences” Wow, that nails so much of what we see that works against the best interest of the state. Indeed, I suppose this blog aims at that point, trying to hold the Senate responsible for consequences of poor work, and interference with others. The President did a rant on the Supreme Court regarding DAp over-reach. He could easily do one on the Senate. They are certainly gumming up his “A” projects.

    • karl garcia says:

      From what I know.
      On relying on teams and lobbyists.
      My dad assisted in the Coast guard law,AFP Modernization Law, and maybe others.
      It took time and it always involved a team.
      I agree with the observations of joseph.

  4. nielsky says:

    It is not because all roads lead to 2016 that henceforth any act of the Senate or the House of Representatives must be perceived as interfering with the role of the executive branch? Besides what should stop the executive if we go by what Samuel Huntington as the ‘interest consistent with nothing else’ from proceeding with its own rule-making powers except that the democratic process will proceed by the rules of the game?

    • Joe America says:

      I’m not sure I totally grasp your point, nielsky. The democratic process is a rule’s based process, and indeed, that is what Senator Santiago cites in demanding that EDCA be passed by the Senate as a new treaty. Administration defines it as an agreement and not a treaty. What is important, the rules or the results? Senator Santiago and the Senate are not assigned the responsibility to defend the Philippines militarily, and to my knowledge has never even addressed the matter of China sitting in Philippine territory. She protests EDCA on the issue of “sovereignty”. But has no protest about China?

      Executive is given special powers to defend the state because war cannot be waged by Committee. The Senate seems largely unable to grasp this notion, that the Executive has enormous responsibilities and deserves the consideration of the Senate . . . for the well-being of the nation.

      Too much in the Philippines, the debate goes to nits and gnats and the big picture is lost. Senator Santiago, Marcos, et al, appear to this observer to have little grasp of the large meanings in the Constitution.

      • HighFive says:

        President Aquino is mandated by the people to hold the highest position of the land. He is tasked by by the people to lead the nation. Other elected or appointed officials were not granted with a mandate that is equivalent to the President’s mandate. I think this is something that is being overlooked by some officials.

        • Joe America says:

          I’m reminded of the Mamasapano hearings and how perceived mistakes are not acceptable to Filipino citizens or legislators. It is hard to be a leader when support is so unreliable. Seriously, people like Senator Poe and Senator Santiago appear to have no idea about the mandate you state so clearly. They work so hard to minimize the credibility of the President both at home and abroad.

    • karl garcia says:

      Primer or nielsky,is coming from the point of view of someone who worked at both houses of congress.

  5. edgar lores says:

    1. How Ye Shall Know Them

    1.1. The Villains and Villainesses (8)

    o IN DETENTION: Enrile, Estrada, Revilla
    o SON OF DICTATOR: Bongbong
    o SON OF PLUNDERER: Ejercito (and Estrada)
    o PLAGIARIZER: Sotto

    1.2. The Good Guys and Girls (13)

    o SON/GRANDSON/DAUGHTER/NEPHEW OF FORMER SENATORS: Angara, Aquino, A Cayetano, P Cayetano, Guingona, Osmena, Pimentel, Recto

    1.3. The In-Betweens (3)


    2. Fully one-third of the senate are rotten apples.

    3. The above classification is subjective. If I could vote:

    o I would never vote for anyone in 1.1.
    o I might drop 3 or 4 from 1.2.
    o I might select one from 1.3.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, Edgar. This helps enormously in a blog I’m concocting to try to define a “position” on each senator coming up for election in 2016 and 2109.

      We need also to start collecting the names of the senatorial wannabes, like Harry Roque and (possibly) Lila De Lima and Leni Robredo. It certainly seems clear to me what bucket to put Roque in, based on his active advocacy of Binay.

  6. Jose Guevarra says:

    Joe, I agree with most of your points when you say the Senate is not doing its job and is instead running interference against the Executive. Except in the case of the BBL. Here I think the Senate is actually doing just fine in making sure that any deal we have with the MILF is a fair and more importantly, a CONSTITUTIONAL one. Why would they want to pass a law that will anyway be ultimately declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? Who really gets to benefit from carving yet another autonomous region after we have seen the failure of the one the BBL is supposed to replaced? What exactly are the supposed benefits of passing the BBL?

    If memory serves me right, the ARMM was Cory’s solution to the Mindanao situation back in the late 80’s. It was supposed to bring peace. Yet majority of the provinces and cities that were supposed to be part of the ARMM voted precisely overwhelmingly against inclusion into this Muslim Mindanao region. Then when Cory supported Nur Misuari’s run for regional governor and had him elected, his enemies within the MNLF broke off to form the MILF. So the question is, what safeguards is Noynoy Aquino’s government putting in place through the BBL to make sure that we have little chance of history repeating itself and working against the people again? And what exactly is the MILF doing to earn the people’s trust?

    I think this wait and see attitude in the part of the Senate with regards to the BBL is just bitter pill the Executive and MILF need to take for now.

    • Joe America says:

      Indeed, the BBL is a bill so requires the Senate’s passage. What has been missing is coordination, and it could be Executive’s fault for not conducting legislative briefings as much as the Senate’s for not having staff examining the bill in draft form to advise senators, and ultimately the President, of the Senate’s problems with it. I cited the problem with “creeping expansion” several months ago on first reading the bill. The PROCESS is often the killer. Everyone is reactive rather than coordinating and understanding the other party’s role, and respecting it. But Senator Marcos took a very heavy-handed stand, virtually singly deciding the Bill would not go forward. Because he did not like it. So a good point would be made if we said Executive would make things go a lot better if there were initiatives taken to make sure key committees are engaged every step of the way.

      The President is responsible for defending against insurgencies. He can declare martial law and undertake military and police raids to shoot insurgents. This particular one would prefer peace, and laws, and listening as well as speaking. Yet he cannot succeed in defending against insurgencies if a particular senator . . . who does not have the accountability for defense . . . acts unilaterally to stop the President’s initiative. It is the President’s job to protect us. Let him do it to the best of his ability. Refine the law, sure, but quickly and respectfully. Don’t grandstand as Marcos did in his Committee meetings, making loose charges and undermining the integrity of the Executive branch.

      • Jose Guevarra says:

        You seem to forget martial law is now a severely weakened tool the President has under our constitution. It now requires the concurrence from Congress to keep it in place. But again, I agree with you. I do not trust Bongbong Marcos at all, at least ot until his family returns the billions his parents stole from us.

        • Joe America says:

          My point on martial law is that it signifies the considerable authority of the President to act in defense of the nation, as expressed in the Constitution.

        • Bert says:

          Agree. Also, we should not trust all the other presidents who stole billions from us and their sons and daughters until their families return the money stolen from us. Nobody should be spared. But are they?

  7. jameboy says:

    The title and the body of the article are one in condemning the Senate for the alleged ‘insertion’ of itself and ‘interference’ with the Executive function leading to the latter failing to do its job. It also mentioned the Senate as a contributor to the insecurity of the state for the alleged follies attributed to it.

    The assertion of insertion and interference, as an institution, would be hard to pin on the Senate without putting the Executive in the center of it all. Let me explain.

    We all know that the Executive, the Legislative (Senate & House) and the Judiciary are the three equal bodies that make up the whole machinery of the government. They are equal in the sense that they have respective functions that are exclusive, inherent and distinct from each other. While there is separation of powers, there is also close coordination and cooperation among the three branches.

    The Senate cannot ‘insert’ itself nor interfere with the function of the Executive without violating its mandate. The same with the two branches. On the part of the Executive, it would be preposterous to even imply that it cannot do its job simply because the Senate has no executive or implementing power to deny it from the Executive. I dread to see the day the Executive branch blame the other branches of government other than itself for failing to do its job. A dread to see the day that a bad administration gets a pass because it use the other co-equal branch as escape goat for its incompetence.

    I grant that there maybe instances that senators get to be in the limelight and mouth whatever contrary ideas or opinion they have in certain legislation but that is not the institution speaking. Furthermore, the President himself has political party mates in the Legislative, not to mention sympathetic friends, who will not take the allegations of interference sitting down. In other words, I’m for calling on individual legislators who have the penchant to make noises which can be interpreted as inserting or interfering. But to lump them all together and present the Senate as the enemy is a bit of a stretch.

    The only valid complaint that I can think of if we’re really going to take steps against the Senate as an institution is if it will sit on the majority, if not all, priority bills the Executive branch is hard put to implement. That would be stonewalling which will really affect the output of the Executive and the programs it lined-up that should have redound to the benefit of the public. 👮

    • Joe America says:

      A sharp argument. The point I would question is, who runs as the “check and balance” on the Legislature if they do not pass needed legislation? The nation desperately needs a national Land Use Act, but this law has languished for years and years as the Senate – or specific Senators – seem to find a way to set it aside. The President operates on big, bold positive acts all the time that get criticism. The Senate seldom does, the primary exception being failure to pass FOI in a timely way. And that whole deal was laid off on Executive for not making it a priority piece of legislation. It is hard to make news about bills not being passed (Land Use), but it is just as negligent as losing lives in a police action. Moreso, probably, if you look at the 8,000 lives lost in Yolanda.

      I do accept that Executive has a big responsibility to keep the Legislative houses informed and engaged on issues so that we don’t have a BBL landing cold on the Committee Chairman’s desk, and he acts as if he’d never heard of it or knew what had been going on for three years.

      • jameboy says:

        The Executive has some measure of influence over the Legislative and should be in a position to press the latter to fast track priority bills. There is a established protocol in going about the process of coordination and cooperation among the branches towards crafting necessary legislation. The heavy lifting should also be made by those legislators who are in support of the administration’s program.

        That being said, it cannot be denied that grandstanding do regularly occur in the legislature. Mix it up with politics and personal agendas then we have a turtle phase slow of a process. Another sticking point was their assertion of an inquiry function (investigation in aid of legislation) as part and parcel of their role. Unfortunately, that’s how slow and tedious the process works in our system. 🐢

  8. HighFive says:

    Enhancing our national defense should be a sole discretion of the DND & The Executive Office. It should not go through the mixed opinion of Legislators and Justices. It’s gonna cause prolongation of discussions and delays. Delays on decisions does not align with our decisiveness to immediately implement the nation’s defense plans. The decisions that we make in protecting our national security should be based on facts not on opinions.
    FACT: Philippines needs Edca. Edca is a huge support to our national security and stability.
    Meaning of FACT= a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true:

    • Joe America says:

      High Five to you High Five. Can you imagine the Chinese moving in on the Philippine rusty-boat outpost, and the President having to ask permission from the Senate to protect the troops there? Or not having the Americans unavailable to assist because the Senate was diddling on EDCA and US ships were stuck off in Subic rather than docked in Palawan?

      Does Senator Santiago feel ANY accountability for the Filipinos on that boat?

      • Joe America says:

        If she does, she’ll stop nattering about legalistic process and let the President defend the land.

      • HighFive says:

        In today’s news, a stationary ship, a couple of small boats and some crews were spotted in Ayungin Shoal. I wish the Senate would be compelled to issue some statement expressing opposition to this or urge President Aquino to put the defense agreement into effect.

  9. Joe America says:

    If you follow MLQIII on twitter or tumblr, you know he is a master historian and possibly knows more about the inside of Philippine government than any living soul. He was kind enough to drop off a related bit of information to this blog, essentially President Aquino’s view of senate responsibilities as it pertains to the oversight or investigatory responsibilities. Mr. Aquino was a senator and was deeply involved in examining Arroyo’s strange deeds at the time. This excerpt was taken from a speech given by candidate Aquino in January 2010 to the Makati Business Club. He said:

    Consider intelligence funds. In the proposed 2010 budget, a total of 1.4 billion was allocated to confidential and intelligence funds.

    Woodrow Wilson once wrote that oversight is always preferable to investigation, which is like putting out a fire instead of preventing one. We proposed that if the Executive wants orderly transactions, at least a few members of Congress should be privy to all of the details to determine if they were spent properly. However, this proposal was dismissed out of hand without even a single hearing for the reason that they undermined the Executive’s privileges.

    And yes, the investigations were a vital part of my functions, too. I don’t think anyone will begrudge me my efforts in this regard. From Hello Garci and the impeachments, to NBN-ZTE and the fertilizer scam, I did my duty at the forefront of these issues.

    He advocated that President Arroyo should share more information with Congress, but Arroyo rejected the idea because it infringed on Executive privilege.

    Actually, the whole of that speech is most enlightening, in hindsight, and I’m sure our more thorough readers will enjoy the flashback.

    • edgar lores says:

      I like this paragraph:

      “If we agree that change is necessary, how can a Presidential aspirant, whose own financial and political ethics are questionable, be effective in leading transformation as the head of the bureaucracy? How can a leader, who is benefiting from the status quo, be able to restore a civic sense and pride in our citizenry? The leader, who has used public office for private gain, will always be the most committed enemy of change.”

      The speech was made in 2010. Let us apply it to the 2016 elections… and boot out the one candidate it perfectly applies to.

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, and it makes me think that it would be helpful if Mr. President did not just anoint his favorite, but got Binay out of the picture. Fire him. Charge him. Whatever. Hard acts.

    • Micha says:

      “There is a lot of room for our revenue base to grow. Our tax effort has gone down from 17% at its peak to a worrisome 13% today. If we can only bring this back even to just the 15% level, that will translate to P150 billion in additional revenues, which would make a significant dent in cutting our deficit.”


      I assume you’re still in President Aquino’s cabinet (or is it as an adviser?). Would you know if this target has been met?


      • Joe America says:

        I don’t know if he reads comments here. Let me see what I can find out. He is a member of the Communications group. I do know concerted effort has been applied to ratchet up tax collections.

        • Joe America says:

          13.3% in 2013. We’ll likely get the 2014 update when the 2015 SONA is produced. It is in the technical report that is attached to the speech. BIR’s web site is very much behind on reporting, with only 2013 info available.

          The 2014 technical report is here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4I1yKpJVx9qdG1acFpfM3dLVDQ/view

          • Micha says:

            Thank you Joe.

            The reason I asked is that targeting higher tax revenue is wrongheaded policy to grow the economy. Taxation, always and everywhere, means taking money away from the private sector. Those are money that had been taken away mostly from the middle class and the poor. Those are money that the national govt does not need because it is monetarily sovereign.

            If we want to grow the economy, we should be increasing aggregate demand and purchasing power of consumers. You don’t do that by taxing their money away.

    • karl garcia says:

      “I have always believed that the job of an effective legislator goes beyond merely proposing laws, for what are laws but written agreements entered into by members of society on how to harmonize their mutual relations? In fact, I do not believe that we suffer from the problem of too few laws. One of my proposed measures was the recodification of laws, in response to an appeal from the legal community to put some order into our laws, their amendments and those that have been repealed, because even our lawyers are at times confused.”

      The BBL may not be a recodifiied law, but it is a recodified MOA-AD bill.The draft was submitted early,but the “normal” pace and process took it years to be noticed,and still it needs further recodification.

      Proposing laws,at the beginning of congress, the fall in line just to get the Senate bill number 1 or House Bill 1. So it is like a race of filing bills which were not passed from previous congress I heard.some filed a filing cabinet bills at one time.and that is at the start of congress. Of course they leave some to be filed at the middle and at the end of the term.
      We have law proposers or pre-legislators.or re-legislators..

      • Joe America says:

        The flurry of laws submitted at the beginning of sessions is one of the most obvious and comical “resume inflating” manipulations known to politics. Legislators brag about work never done.

        We should put in some bleachers so the voters can sit in the stands and watch and laugh at the clowns gloating over their non-achievements. Rather like Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.

  10. Leftstar says:

    Hi. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think Harry roque will do good should he run and win in 2016 senatorial election. He’s been very vocal about china and the us presence in the Philippines. He’s a law expert too. I guess if he is really going to run under the binary camp it’s because he doesn’t have the machinery to campaign independently.

    • Joe America says:

      You are asking the wrong person by asking me. I think Mr. Roque is unethical (declaring Pemberton guilty before trial and leading protests at the jail), has poor values (supporting Binay), and is wrong on VFA. He would be a horrid representative of the people. He is going with the Binay camp because Binay is a friend of his family and no self-respecting person will join the Binay campaign. If Mr. Roque will sell his principles to get a campaign backer, that just confirms my view that he is of very poor values.

    • manuelbuencamino says:

      Harry Roque is a demagogue.

  11. manuelbuencamino says:

    Checks and balances. Sometimes too much emphasis on checking can lead to a loss of balance not only in the exercise of one’s constitutional mandate but also in one’s personal bank balance. 🙂

  12. NHerrera says:


    When you announced in the Blog that Tuesday is the D-Day you will discuss your “stock pick” on the high national office candidates, my knee-jerk reaction is the filtering attributes. The fine filter, character, came immediately to my mind as high up there in the attributes.

    Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. — Abraham Lincoln

    Looking forward to what I believe will be a great read.

    • Joe America says:

      Character is everything, for sure. Most of us work in the shadows though.

    • josephivo says:

      And character starts with courage, courage to grow as a tree. Courage to grow with new ideas. Courage to go for it and cast a shadow.

    • NHerrera says:

      Yes, indeed. Character indeed is that word which can be narrowly or expansively defined. We just know what it is if a person whose character we so like and admire, says himself — “that person has character.”

      If the person uttering that statement is Aquino or Binay, we know we are comparing the utterance as from a Peso or a Centavo.

  13. Regionalizing the Senate might be the best idea – two Senators per Region for example.

    1) The bigshots from the regions would still make noise, but not just the Manila elite like now.

    2) They would give the regions importance and a voice, and check against Manila imperialism.

    3) The regional bigshots and their energies would be channeled into something nationally useful.

    And: Senators like Duterte, Misuari, Iqbal, Cayetano, Marcos etc. would neutralize each other…

    • Steve says:

      Regionalizing the Senate would also eliminate the need for a national campaign budget and national name recognition, which has restricted the Senate to elites and celebrities

  14. Steve says:

    Investigation in aid of publicity is the core concern of Senators, many of whom have political ambitions. Investigation gets headlines. Legislation doesn’t.

  15. Let us wish Senator Santiago a Happy 70th Birthday!

  16. mindanaoan says:

    “When the Senate withholds BBL legislation, it blocks Executive from doing its job.”
    It’s not part of the job of the Executive if it’s not covered by law, so the senate is not blocking a non-job. It’s just not eager to legalize an illegal job. In fact, by pushing for a particular legislation, it is the executive that is interfering with the senate’s job.

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