Re-inventing the Senate in 2016 and 2019

Senators 2016 A

Senators whose terms expire in 2016

Let’s look at the senators who are up for re-election in 2016 and 2019 and see if there is a strategy that can be articulated that points to achievement-oriented law-writing in support of a fast-rising Philippines.

It seems to this observer that a part of the drag on Philippine success is weak law-making. The Senate appears to have no master vision of a modern, organized, fair and developing nation.  Rather, Senate leaders play it politically, awaiting the President’s priorities or patching together an agenda from the hundreds of bills filed by senators at the beginning of each session. The Senate is reactive, following. Rather than aggressive, leading.

A case in point is the absence of a comprehensive national land use law that would end the indiscriminate chopping up of the Philippine landscape and weak management of natural preserves, forests, minerals, lakes, rivers, agricultural lands and city expansion. Land use is run by the cities, and they favor the favored, the land-owners seeking private profit. The don’t have an over-arching view that favors citizens who expect reasonable management of THEIR resources.

The Senate, bogged down in vested interests, does not take the lead to build a better Philippines.

The strength of character to put the peoples’ interests first, in a pro-active, building way, seems not to exist. Well, Senators Aquino and Angara are exceptions, I suppose. But COLLECTIVELY, it seems not to exist.

The Senate Seats Available in 2016 and 2019

The table above shows who will be out of office in 2016. Half will be out because they will finish the second consecutive term and cannot run again. The others are expected to stand for re-election.

In the interest of driving toward a forward-looking, achievement-oriented Senate, one filled with doers and absent of trapos and non-producers, lets append a hypothetical “goal” to each candidate along with a reason for the goal. These are very loose assignments for the sake of promoting discussion. Readers are welcome to put in their two cents regarding any or all of the people who are up for re-election. Here’s one possible mark-up:

Senators 2016

We can also project forward three years and look at another set of choices, also with goals and reasons loosely marked in:

Senators 2019

The interesting point is that, over the course of two elections, the electorate can dramatically change the composition of the Senate. But there has to be an agreement as to the credentials being sought and the credentials not wanted. And the votes have to align that way. That is, people far and wide have to grasp the difference between personality and achievement, and connect achievement to their well-being.

Desired Characteristics of a Senator

  • Honest; ethical
  • Puts nation above friends
  • Intelligent, studied, good common sense
  • Achiever

The “Not Desired” qualities would be the opposite of these characteristics.

Name Dropping

This is a list of the names I’ve managed to collect, people mentioned in the media as possible senatorial candidates:

  • Lorna Kapunan, lawyer to the stars and for a short time, Janet Napoles (“The problem of Lorna Kapunan“; Rappler)
  • Harry Roque, activist attorney, backing Binay for President under UNA
  • Leni Robredo, House representative from Camarines Sur; wife of the late, and revered, Jesse Robredo; LP ticket.
  • Leonardo Espina, now retired former Deputy Chief of Police during the Mamasapano incident.
  • Leila De Lima, Secretary of the Department of Justice; Liberal Party
  • Butch Abad, Secretary, Department of Budget and Management and Liberal Party stalwart
  • Edgar Erice, Representative from Caloocan City and Liberal Party spokesman
  • Dingdong Dantes, actor and film producer, mentioned as a part of the possible Liberal Party slate
  • Herbert Bautista, Quezon City Mayor, former actor; possible Liberal Party candidate
  • Isko Moreno, (real name Francisco Domagoso), Manila Vice Mayor and former actor; member of UNA.
  • Lito Atienza, former Manila mayor and currently House representative from Buhay party-list; likely to run as senator under UNA banner.
  • Francis Pangilinan, former senator and currently the presidential assistant for CV food security and agricultural modernization; LP ticket.
  • Corazon Soliman, Social Welfare Secretary; LP ticket
  • Risa Hontiveros, Director of the  Philippine Health Insurance Corp. Director Risa Hontiveros; LP ticket
  • Mark Lapid, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority chief operating office; LP ticket
  • Panfilo Lacson, former senator and special assistant to the President for recovery after Typhoon Yolanda; LP ticket
  • Rachel Arenas, representative from the 3rd District of Pangasinan, LP ticket
  • Rufus Rodriguez, representative from the 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro, LP ticket
  • Roman Romulo, representative from Pasig, LP ticket
  • Reynaldo Umali, representative from the 2nd District of Oriental Mindoro, LP ticket
  • Francis Tolentino, Chair of the Metro Manila Development Authority, LP ticket
  • Joel Villanueva, Director General of TESDA, LP ticket
  • Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Secretary of DOTC, LP ticket
  • Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, recently resigned Secretary of the Department of Energy, LP ticket
  • Jose Rene Almendras, Secretary to the Cabinet, LP ticket
  • Janette Garin, Secretary, Department of Health, LP ticket

Well, clearly, the LP party has dropped more names than UNA, which is pre-occupied with VP Binay’s travails. NP has not been at the political forefront either. Other parties operate in the background.

In, Out, In Between

It is very early, so there is some wobble to the selections, but I find it easy to mark some prospects as “In”, and a lot as “Out”. The rest are in the middle.

In: Robredo (character, achievement), De Lima (character, achievement), Abad (character, achievement), Erice (character, sense).

Out: Kapunan (show-woman), Dantes (actor), Roque (UNA), Moreno (UNA), Atienza (UNA), Lacson (trapo), Abaya (poor DOTC achievement), and Garin (not secretary long enough to judge performance).

The rest are in-between, requiring further research or debate. Petilla is probably the first person I’d want to study. He seems to have independent (non-trapo) character, resigning rather than accepting a questionable appointment forced on him. Yet Energy is such a mess. So I’d want to examine “achievement”.

Anyone associated with UNA is automatically out for me as having poor ethical standards. If they would want my (hypothetical) vote, they’d have to have the character to either oust the leader of the party or change their party affiliation.

The steps going forward are: (1) agree to the basic direction and standards, (2) run people through the filter to sort them into “IN” or “OUT” buckets, and (3) promote the favored slate.

You are invited to join the Society of Honor’s “Senatorial Filter Mechanism”. We are unlikely to find total or final agreement, but can get some ideas onto paper.


67 Responses to “Re-inventing the Senate in 2016 and 2019”
  1. For one I’d like a Senate that believes it is the Equal of the SC and the Presidency.

    The Senate must be aspirational in the sense that it should not self censure because of the lousiest of reasons that it is unconstitutional. Let the SC decide that.

    A senator must believe in the senate’s power to legislate :
    “in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.”

    • Joe America says:

      That is an excellent point. Mamasapano and BBL. Both disruptive rather than building, or supporting development of the Philippine state. Mamasapano produced no legislation and the draft report was set aside. The hearings were intensely destructive and did what would have occurred properly within Executive, properly off the public stage. It’s like the legislators want to be little executives themselves rather than writing laws that will build a well-ordered nation.

      “A nation of kings and queens . . .”

  2. Steve says:

    A big part of the problem is that the Senate is elected nationally, rather than regionally, which requires national name recognition (favoring celebrities and the media-connected) and enough money for a national campaign, which requires deals with those capable of providing finance.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I suppose those are realities. But if they were elected regionally, we’d likely still get a Marcos. Maybe not a Binay though . . . Would we get Bam Aquino?

    • phoebus101 says:

      Even if elected locally, officials could be just as rotten as some of what we have now. The Senate today is like a platform for those who aspire for presidency and a club of old men who thinks the Senate is a home for the aged. The young bloods and some are typically almost non existent and I don’t know why. I almost forgot that Villar and Recto are still senators. I did not hear any significant bills passed except the RH bill.

      • Steve says:

        Certainly a regionally elected Senate would not assure quality. It would likely give an advantage to dynasties with regional roots, like the Marcoses or the Romualdezes, among too many others. National elections, on the other hand, are extremely expensive, a huge entry barrier to anyone outside the elite, and demand national name recognition, which biases toward celebrities and members of political clans with a national profile.

        Hard to say what’s worse…

  3. timowp17 says:

    The Senate is like Game of Thrones but with the 12 thrones chosen by its citizens.

    In my hypothetical Senate for the 17th Congress, it will be a gridlock of the outgoing and incoming President’s factions.

    The six Senators who has privilege to run for another term this 2016 will definitely be secured. The other six will be a greater payback for Binay’s UNA. I can smell Lani Mercado’s revenge for her spouse and Jack Enrile’s for his father. Even Lito Lapid’s son, Mark, would probably get into the chamber. Richard Gordon would go back.

    For fresh blood: Leni Robredo may get the job. Risa, for the the third time, would be a 50-50 chance.

    But when it comes to the Senate presidency, they may change sides and have elected Tito Sotto as Senate President! Can you imagine a plagiarist turned into next-in-line in presidential succession?

    This would be my hypothetical situation of the Senate come next year.

  4. karl garcia says:

    Among the underachievers mentioned, I was surprised Ralph Recto is among them.

    • juan says:

      and mayor gatchalian of valenzuela (kentex fire tragedy) would like to be in the una senatorial slate too.

    • Joe America says:

      That is just an impression, but it suggests how shallow our real knowledge is if we go by what is popularly available. We seldom read about senators Recto, Villar, Osmena, and Sotto.

      If I go through that list of laws authored for Senator Recto, I see: One law in 2015. Two laws authored in 2014. Four in 2013. Three in 2012. Then we skip back to 2007. Some are significant (K-12), and others are amendments of established laws. Is that an “achiever”? An average of three authored laws per year?

      It is a standard, and we can look at others in those terms. See how the senators I consider high-achieving (Aquino, Angara) stack up.

      Thanks for the factual data.

    • Another who, by his silence, condones Binay’s corruption. On my blacklist due to his behavior during the sin taxes deliberations.

  5. juan says:

    in a remade senate, i wish to see a senate chacha where senators are elected not nationally but regionally. each region will have two senators each with the exception of ncr having three. thus autonomous regions (armm and car) are co equal with the provincial regionals. ncr having 3 will provide the tiebreaker. when a senator resigns or dies while in office, or has medical incapacity, is suspended or incarcerated, a special election will be held to fill the vacancy for the duration. no, it is not the whole voting population of the region who will vote the fill-in senator (that would be very expensive) but a special group…this group will be all the vice-mayors of the region. or maybe we do not need to replace with a fill-in an incarcerated senator as he can participate with the upper house activities via cctv… a good work and entertainment endeavor for the jailbird.

    off topic how to de-claw the grasp of the binays with the cde’s…i say i call on all men and women of goodwill, the youth (hope of the motherland), and all ye believers of the rule of law to press the peoples reps at the batasan to IMPEACH the vice president for abuse of power and breach of public trust. as the second highest public official of the executive branch, the vp should be helping to enforce the law rather than inciting binay supporters to prevent the delivery of the ombushman’s suspension order to his son. i clearly understand the duty of a father but there is a higher calling and that is his duty to serve the people who elected him into office. we do not need to wait for 2016 to boot the vp out, the time is now,,,SOBRA NA, TAMA NA. you netizen-lawyers help build the impeachment case vs vp. IMPEACH BINAY NOWna…ye all who have access to other blogs, help do a viral IMPEACH BINAY NOWna. i rest my case and God Bless our Beloved Philippines,

    • Joe America says:

      The regional election of senators is most interesting. It suggests not just changing the bodies, but changing the body . . . of the senate. Hard to do.

      Regarding the impeachment of Binay, I think the problem is the time it takes to get it done. For sure, his recent acts have given more reason to. I was just reflecting on what a horrid representation he is to young people, and to other nations around the world.

      • juan says:

        thanx. yes for sure it is hard to do, hence, it is in my wish list or to put it in better terms…my dream list…hopefully in writing this thought there might be someone out there (a new think politico) who could project this thought much better than me and initiate a change. the idea is very debatable, it has merits and faults. i do not see this happening in my lifetime. if it is thought of, it might be. thanx again joe for hosting a very educational and thought inspiring blog. kudos to all the bloggers.

        • Joe America says:

          We shall record the remake of the senate in the category of “objectives” among many to build a responsive and responsible legislative body. I’m glad you find the blog meaningful, and I share your appreciation of the good thinking done by so many contributors.

      • Steve says:

        I don’t think impeachment of Binay is the right course… I believe that impeachment is only for crimes committed in the role currently held, which omits a great deal. Better just vote him down in 2016, and prosecute him as an ordinary citizen, no shortage of grounds for prosecution. I hope the images and stories of Binay abusing the policemen at Makati City Hall get well distributed. That’s the sort of thing people need to see. The masses take corruption for granted, but they are not fond of that sort of strutting arrogance.

        • juan says:

          i see a crime violation during the makati mob rule, the policement think so too and they will file charges. if an ordinary person did the assault upon an authority (the police) what do you think he gets…he gets the slammer. inciting the mob to create chaos so the suspension order could not be implemented…they maybe petty but if an ordinary citizen committed these…the book is thrown at him… take these two petty criminal misdeeds, they may equate to abuse of power and breach of public trust…i am not a lawyer but that is my humble opinion…i agree conduct unbecoming of the vp is not an impeachable offense…maybe his past greater misdeeds maybe dig into during the hearing as a pattern of behavior to substantiate abuse of power and breach of public trust…and a live telecast of the hearing will expose him that he will think very hard if still wants to run…his pareng erap must be smiling with this idea. gude

  6. I have usually taken the habit of mixing up the senators I am voting, for proper balance. Later, in 2013, I voted for all the LP candidates with the exception of C.Villar and Legarda. Now, someone has given me a tip, if you know a group of your preferred candidate is already strong in the surveys, don’t vote for them anymore, just vote the one you prefer who is weakest in the polls to increase the his/her chance of landing in the magic 12. I was not sure about this technique, so I did not listen, Sadly Riza Hontiveros did not make it twice in a row.

    I will surely vote for Bam Aquino, Koko Pimentel. Drilon, Guingona and the rest of the LP candidates. Not sure of Guarin, though, not much info about her, the little I got is not favorable, the usual trapo in her district. More studies and information mining is needed. I thought Sotto is a 2 termer senator already. How long must we endure him?

    I’m aiming for a majority for the LP to be a partner of the LP Presidential candidate so the legislative and other programs of the incoming executive will have a smooth sailing, same in the lower house, for the same reason. Anyway, as is the usual practice, a coalition government is formed right after the election. Am not sure now, what with the PDAF no longer in the picture. Gloria controlled the releases of this allocation for her not to be impeached.

    • Joe America says:

      Ahahaha, Sotto does seem forever. Right, the Senate will be LP, no matter who is President. Fun in the sun . . . More will get done if the President is LP. 🙂

      • Yep…to continue the program of government that is obviously working, notwithstanding the crap our VP is dishing out on a regular basis. we need 3 terms or more of PNOY’s type of governance to lift our country to the level, if not exceeding those of our neighboring Asian countries. That is the big picture, the one that the UNA group and their supporters could not, or refuse to see. CCT program, if increased, is one way the economy’s growth will trickle down to the poor on a regular basis (as opposed to seasonal dole out by corrupt politicians) to uplift their own standard of living.

  7. Bing Garcia says:

    “Sa tingin namin, napakalakas ng ebidensiya. Ano ang gusto nila, tumunganga na lang kami. No way!” Ombudsman Morales said.

  8. Of the people mentioned above, the person who must not become senator at all costs is Harry Roque. It’s disappointing to see an activist lawyer fall to the dark side. While my dislike of him is part of my over-all disdain for the extreme left, Roque takes it to new extremes. Given his background, he should be among the first to disown, but no, instead he’s the complete opposite.

    As for the other senators, among those I’m surprised about is Bam Aquino. For someone who arguably only won because of his surname, the legislation he’s proposed or supported have been commendable, especially the Fair Competition Bill (apparently soon to be signed into law), in addition to his relationships with groups like Go Negosyo who have helped the lives of many Filipinos. We need more people like him who are thinking of improving the country’s economy, and who wants the country’s economic growth to be felt not just by the upper parts of society but by the masses as well.

    • He was a summa cum laude from Ateneo. He has brains and a good grasp of what the nation needs for economic growth. Yes, he deserves another term in 2019 or a higher office if only he will lose a little weight as somebody opined some blogs ago, was it you, giancarlo?

      • Joe America says:

        Hahahaha, a memory like a trap . . . and typing seems to have improved, too. 🙂

      • sonny says:

        @ Mary Grace
        a totally impertinent question: from which school did you get your accounting background? (none of my business is an acceptable answer, else pls feel free to use my email via Joe’s permission 🙂 )

        • I had engaged the Lance Corporal in a long exchange of comments in a thread some blogs ago. I had confided there that I studied in a rather mediocre school due to financial limitation. I did not even attend the ceremony as a form of rebellious boycott, just got my transcript of records when I was job hunting.

          • sonny says:

            Thank you, Mary Grace. Sa tingin ko kung anuman kulang nila, sobra-sobra dinagdag mo.

            • wow, so kind of you to say so… I wish we had the means to study in San Beda, your Alma Mater.(did I get it right?).. whoa… then I would have had your great command of the English language. As I recall, even the Lance Corporal had to consult Google for some of the words you used in a thread.

              • sonny says:

                Pinaka-magic wand ang education: it wakes up the many things about a person’s gifts way beyond the classroom. Pasalamat ako sa collection ng mga teachers during my years in high school. I’m sure each of us had our share kahit saan man ang escuela natin. I felt ako isa sa “poor” sa klase namin. I had to get by with fifty centavos in my pocket. 🙂 (pero nakatutok lagi mga magulang namin)

          • edgar lores says:

            If I may steal MRP’s thunder, no wonder you are so good, Mary, you are not a graduate of UP!

            • wahahaha! ….looking back, I almost got enrolled in UP… got as far as medical exam whcih I passed, no more entrance exam courtesy of high school valedictorian finish… upon interview, I was asked if I can commute from one UP building to another ( so many of them in UPLB), I asked if the scholarship will cover the daily fares and books, upon learning that that it won’t, I dejectedly left the campus… so MRP, was that a bane or a boon for me?…hahaha

    • Joe America says:

      Agree entirely.

    • chit navarro says:

      I beg to disagree that Senator Bam Aquino won because of his surname. Bam Aquino, before he was elected Senator, had carved an impressive performance for the youth of the country – He was one of the ten Outstanding Young Persons in the World in 2012 – and was one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in the Philippines (TOYM). He chaired the National Youth Commission when he was 25 years old, the youngest to head a government agency. He graduated summa cum laude from Ateneo and studied at Harvard too. In fact, during the campaign period, he seldom harped on his being an Aquino – He worked on what he has done (his Hapinoy Project) and what he can do for the country when elected.

      • karl garcia says:

        Unfortunately many voters still go for name recall.His being a Ninoy look a like was also a plus.It is a good thing he became a senator with his drive and determination,many of his bills were signed into law.

      • sonny says:

        Going out on a limb here.

        just by accident, I have a good view of the clan Aquino. They are the real mccoy. I trace it back to Don Benigno Aquino Sr. and Dona Aurora. If Sen Bam makes it to candidacy & the presidency, the Philippines has a shot at what she truly deserves.

  9. Also, offtopic, but this came into my mind with Junjun Binay’s second suspension. I’m kind of disturbed by the recent silence of Kabataan Partylist, Anakbayan, the League of Filipino Students, and other youth groups regarding the Makati Science High School issue. These are the same people who were against Ayala building a mall on UP land, and yet they don’t seem to have any view on a mayor and his family overpricing a school pricing and getting kickbacks in the process, kickbacks that could have gone to more productive things such as scholarships, the construction of better classrooms, textbooks, etc. I wish they could have a proper stand on the issue. They are supposed to be fighting for student’s rights. Doesn’t those rights include being protected from corruption? Fighting for money to be spent on the progress of the state of education?

    • Joe America says:

      I think the left are about to line up in favor of Binay, for reasons that are beyond comprehension. I don’t comprehend this sense of high values in support of the people, and a blindness toward the greediest of the corrupt. Clearly, the ideological integrity of the left is lost.

      • Rumors are that they might like Binay because he’s more willing to cooperate with China than Aquino.

      • chit navarro says:

        For a starter, Binay studied in UP and while in UP, he was and is friends with those perceived as activists belonging to the “Left”. In one of Raissa’s article, where she had an interview with the VP, it was mentioned that while studying at UP, he was strongly identified with the PKP (Partido ng Komunista ng Pilipinas) or the UPKP then and was going out with Dodong Nemenzo, Merlin Magalona, etc. He may have sustained that relationship until now and may have even been a “godfather” to them that’s why there is not at all a squeak from their side of the world…

        • Scary, troubling… add to that background his pronouncements about China having lots of cash and that our country need them and I am deeply worried. UNA is coalescing with Arroyo’s Lakas, he is chummy with Estrada and both of these ex-presidents had apparently entered into disadvantageous agreements with China. Erap is saying now that if Binay will have trouble in his presidential candidacy (with all these current controversies) he is willing to be the standard bearer for the opposition. The three of them have a common stand regarding the WPS, it now appears.

          oops sorry, Joe kind of off topic

  10. Jose Guevarra says:


    Just want to try to clarify something. Didn’t Koko’s first term (which was robbed by the Arroyo administration to favor Miguel Zubiri) begin in 2007? If this is the case, then Koko would be constitutionally barred from running for the Senate in 2019 since he is now serving his second term.

    • Joe America says:

      Good question. I didn’t see the answer on the Govt web site. Wiki records him as being on his first term. He did start mid-term in 2011. So I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe the requirement is two FULL terms. I did discover that he topped the bar exam in 1990. 🙂

      If he has to run, I’m confident he will be re-elected.

  11. edgar lores says:

    1. Disclosure: I follow Filipino news daily but I am not totally familiar with the names on the prospective senatorial candidates. My comments should be taken with a grain of salt.

    2. First of all, I agree that Marcos Jr. and Sotto should be consigned to hell, and Osmena and Recto to limbo.

    3. Of the 26 names listed, I will classify them as either “old” or “new” to me:

    3.1. The “old” names (6) that are familiar to me and which I consider to be qualified to run for the office of senator are: Robredo, De Lima, Abad, Pangilinan, Soliman, and Hontiveros.

    3.2. The “old” name(s) (3) that are familiar to me and which I consider to be unqualified to run for lack of character or acumen are: Lacson, Atienza and Abaya.

    3.3. The “new” names (2) I am familiar with and of which I have no firm opinion as to their qualifications are: Erice and Petilla. I would say though that Petilla is from the energy sector and that is a mess.

    3.4. The “new” names (6) I am familiar with and which I consider to be unqualified for lack of experience, intellect or character are: Kapunan, Roque, Dantes, Bautista, Moreno, and Garin.

    32.5. The “new” names (9) that I am not familiar to me and of which I have no creditable opinion are: Espina, Lapid, Arenas, Rodriguez, Romulo, Umali, Tolentino, Villanueva, and Almendras.

    3.5.1. Of these nine names, I have a sneaking suspicion that most are running on the basis of either name recall or association with the “glory” of their forebears: Lapid, Rodriguez, Romulo, Tolentino, Villanueva and Almendras.

    4. Do I detect a distinct lack of merit in this list of candidates? I do, I do.

    4.1. I would write off those with entertainment backgrounds – Dantes, Bautista and Moreno.

    4.2. I would also write off these gimmicky lawyers: Kapunan and Roque.

    5. A tragedy of Philippine politics is that some of the most qualified people do not seek public office for reasons that range from: (a) the lack of funding; (b) the insecurity of public office unless you belong to a dynasty; (c) the perception that politics is dirty; to (d) family reasons.

    5.1. What I have in mind are people from the business sector and academia. I am not familiar with potential candidates from the former category, but news media have highlighted some names from academia – like Tony La Vina, Mel Sta. Maria, Sylvia Estrada Claudio, and Randy David. Heck, If Nancy can be a senator, Nicole Curato and Ronald Mendoza — or any random man or woman picked off the street for that matter — would be eminently more deserving. I am that desperate.

    • Joe America says:

      Personality sells in the Philippines. Character and skill does not. I will find most interesting LP’s selected slate. Will it be heavy up on name and popularity, or will it seek to promote capability. We know UNA, it is slimeballs of no redeeming character or skill, except for Pacquiao’s ability to box. I don’t consider stealing to be a leadership skill, although a great many UNA members seem to have it. NP is treading water. Poe as an independent is demonstrating no independence from those who influence.

      Somewhere, somehow, there needs to be a popular movement toward integrity and skill. Maybe it is a new party. Maybe someone will have the initiative to put it together, but I have no idea who. Maybe it will emerge from the on-line community. Bam Aquino is luck, for us, the people, for we had no idea of his motivation to excel. How can we find more of that, so it is not just luck? How do we get them into government?

      Big problem.

      • sonny says:

        Joe, just got through watching a PBS special on how America closed ranks to answer the challenges of a world at war where UK & France were being steamrolled by the Nazi war machine. There was much much to learn how FDR, Corporate America and the American people ALL came together and did it (come to the aid of Western Europe). If just to imagine a similar Philippine response to such monster challenges today, I again think of an extra constitutional move to keep Pnoy to finish what he has started or put into place those people and measures he has identified that will enable both AB & CDE sectors generate that national capacity to step up. PNoy seems to be the closest one to an FDR who should sound that clarion call.

      • edgar lores says:

        As to character and intelligence: any and all candidates who continue to associate with Binay are lacking in what I consider to be two essential attributes of public servants in any branch of government:

        o The first, of course, is MORALITY.
        o The second, and perhaps more crucial than the first, is JUDGMENT.

        What is judgment?

        To me, it is the ability to look at an issue, to categorize the issue correctly, to identify the perimeters of the issue, to see the possible courses of resolution, and to discern the correct course.

        Members of the judiciary are supposed to possess this essential quality. Of the GMA-appointed SC justices, only Carpio may be said to have this quality to a significant degree. The PNoy-appointed justices all have this quality, with the possible exception of Jardaleza. But Sereno and Leonen have this in spades.

        Of the current crop of senators, I would say that Guingona, Pimentel, and to a lesser degree, Drilon, have this quality. I would add that Enrile and Escudero have the sense of judgment, but the trouble is they do not have the first essential attribute, morality. Miriam, despite her legal eminence, does not have the sense. Grace may have morality but has not shown judgment to a significant extent. The rest are not consistent.

        These impressions are subjective and from the top of my head. If you were to ask me why, I would probably be able to back up my impression. For example, in Miriam’s case, I would cite her verdict in the Corona impeachment trial (and I am certain JoeAm would cite her stance on VFA and EDCA, but I would not necessarily agree).

        The lady commenters here and on Raissa’s blog that I have named elsewhere in this post have both essential attributes.

        • They really do converge in one party, don’t they… makes it easy for us to foresee what kind of governance they will give us should we be unfortunate enough to have them shoved our throats as duly elected officials, that is, if the misinformed, easily influenced and manipulated electorate will have their way.

        • Joe America says:

          You have a very perceptive eye. What do you think about Ejercito? To me, he is the most redeemable of the UNA crowd, but he would have to depart UNA to display that he indeed has judgment.

    • karl garcia says:

      Edgar,even us here in Pinas just rely on the news for info on the named potential candidates.Your guess is as good as any.I always enjoy reading your assessment,analysis,etc.

  12. jameboy says:

    The Senate today is like a platform for those who aspire for presidency and a club of old men who thinks the Senate is a home for the aged.
    The first categorization is right on target. The second not much. The only ‘aged’ in the Senate is Juan Ponce Enrile. Defensor-Santiago, Drilon and Osmena, age-wise, are relatively seniors. The rest are definitely not ‘old’ men-women.

    Qualified people do not seek public office.
    Not accurate. You cannot run for public office if you are not qualified. Professionals and experts do not seek public office. Aside from the low pay, it’s not worth all the troubles.

    Reinventing the Senate?
    I’m for it. Question, how and by whose guidance?

    I don’t think supporting candidate/s would result in reinvention. It takes more than that. The Senate as an institution is composed of a wide range of ideas/thinking and principles from people with different experience, educational/professional background, political leanings and personal affiliations. It doesn’t replenish and sustain itself by itself. Its existence is largely dependent on the public trust and confidence and the institutions it interacts with.

    I don’t think it can reinvent itself without the participation of the other two branches of government, the Legislature and Judiciary, as well as the support of the public. 🌜

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