Change in Senate leadership

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato - The Philippine Star

I came across a very interesting interview by Karen Davila whose special guest was former Senate president Franklin Drilon and, amidst all of the controversy surrounding the issue at the Senate, it was both interesting and reassuring to hear the former Senate leader speak for my education and perhaps, for the education of many others trying to grasp the events that resulted in a change in leadership.

Franklin Drilon served four times as Senate president and his experience as a politician runs over a span of a good 40 years. I do remember him as a little girl and it was certainly a real pleasure to see him again recently after so many years, as sharp and astute as ever. Not to mention kind and gracious. I suppose one can say that when looking for wisdom, you turn to the wise man in the hopes of finding some clarity on the matter at hand.

When it came to the new leadership, naturally, former Senate president Drilon expressed his sincere congratulations to the new leader, Senator Francis Escudero, whom he described as seasoned and qualified. As for the recent circumstances, the former Senate president explained what he saw as a series of cumulative effects in the past six months of political events that may have contributed to the leadership change. As people wonder why former Senate president Zubiri was replaced, Drilon explained that such commutative effects may have been the reason for the change with these being, first, the people’s initiative, where Zubiri took a position on the basis of his principles (that there should be no amendments to the Constitution); second, allowing a warrant of arrest for Pastor Quiboloy, a known ally of former president Duterte and third, the ever so controversial PDEA leaks hearings where the impression left was that Zubiri allowed a former PDEA agent to testify in the manner in which he did.

As explained by Drilon, such circumstances may have caused these cumulative effects which then resulted in the change in the Senate, while also noting that the former Senate leadership did what he thought was best. Of course, we must note that former senator Drilon does not really know the immediate cause (meaning he has no personal knowledge of what transpired), but from how it all looks, such effects led to the results at hand. Considering how many things happened one after the other over a long period of time, I do incline myself to the conclusion that these cumulative effects could have indeed been the reason for change.

It is quite enlightening for someone like me who knows very little about the fundamentals running through the halls of the Senate to gain some perspective on the issues with objectivity, as I learned from the good former Senate president Drilon that it was not uncommon for the Senate leadership position to somewhat depend on who the President prefers and that there was nothing wrong with it, considering that the President is the political leader of the country, giving him, as Drilon said, both the prerogative as well as the obligation to ensure that his policies are finding its way into the books of law which can only happen when the leaders of both chambers are aligned with the same policy.

(To be continued)

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