We should stop sending jokers, jesters and comedians to the Senate

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - April 30, 2019 - 12:00am

The Senate used to be the chamber of senators Claro M. Recto, Tañada, Diokno, Tolentino, Salonga, Rodrigo, Kalaw, Ziga, and Cuenco, all wise in law and erudite in parliamentary procedures. We should not desecrate it further by electing comedians, folk singers, actors, basketball players, and boxers.

The task of legislation is a very serious business. The senators we elect should have legal acumen, parliamentary adeptness, and sufficient knowledge about the nuances, intricacies, and philosophies of the law. They must have the skills of legal analysis and decision-making, the knowledge of the dynamics of parliamentary procedures and the procedures of legislation. They must understand international law because we have problems in the South China Sea. They must be good in criminal law because our justice system needs massive overhaul. They must be knowledgeable in commercial and mercantile law, political law, taxation, and labor laws.

The problem with the Filipino electorate is that they keep on complaining about bad government and bad laws, and yet they keep on electing bad senators and bad congressmen. They choose looks over brains, personality instead of principles, popularity rather than qualifications. For instance if Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada should win again, what laws will they ever pass in the Senate which they have failed to enact in their many years as senators before they were charged before the Sandiganbayan?

What will Lito Lapid again do in the Senate which he failed to do in his multiple terms in the Upper House? Is he not more effective as a vendetta leader in “Ang Probinsyano”? Of course, Vilma Santos was principally instrumental in making her husband Ralph Recto a senator. At least Ralph has performed creditably well in the Senate. After all, he is a Recto, although he is not Claro. In the same manner, Sharon Cuneta helped make Kiko Pangilinan a senator. Well, Kiko is a lawyer from UP. He understands lawmaking.

But electing Freddie Aguilar a senator is too much. The senate is not a concert or a musical. It isn’t a zarzuela, Eat Bulaga, or Showtime. It is serious business. So, why don't Filipinos use their brains and elect those truly deserving? We applaud Manny Pacquiao as world boxing champion, but is he really for the Senate? We admire Fernando Poe as the icon of action movies, but just because of FPJ was a legend should we make Grace Poe the topnotcher in the coming senatorial elections?

A really qualified legislator like Koko Pimentel, who is a Bar topnotcher, is in the periphery, while this guy Bong Revilla, who was ordered by the Sandiganbayan to return millions to the government, is sure to win. Why is JV Ejercito down while his brother, Jinggoy, who is facing serious charges on top in the survey? "Oh judgment," as Mark Antony exclaimed in his eulogy for Julius Caesar, "thou art fled to brutish beast, and men have lost their reason."

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