PNoy urges ceasefire among squabbling senators

Posted at 01/27/2013 1:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III said he will talk to senators to set aside their squabbles now that Congress has only a few days left to discuss and pass important measures.

“So actually pag-uwi ko, makikiusap ako sa ating co-equal branch na puwede ba tayong mag-concentrate na itabi muna natin 'yung ating personal issues. Merong issues ang bansa na kailangang asikasuhin with a very respectful tone to a co-equal branch,” he told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, based on transcripts released on Sunday.

He said there are important bills that are already in their advanced stages and it would be unfortunate if the bills need to be filed again in the next Congress.

The Senate will go on a four-month break starting February 8 for the May 13 elections. Lawmakers will only return in June for the remaining days of the 15th Congress.

Aquino noted the need for the amendments to the Anti -Money Laundering Act, which the Financial Action Task Force is closely monitoring.

“Ang bottomline nito, kapag hindi napasa nitong current Congress na ito, babalik tayo sa---may magpa-file ulit nito sa next Congress, mapupunta sa committee, dadaan ng first, second, and third reading. Back to square one,” he mused.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago earlier criticized Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for distributing Senate savings to a chosen number of senators allegedly as "cash gifts.”

The issue snowballed, with other senators joining in the fray. Enrile offered to resign but was overruled by a majority of senators. He lashed out at his critics, particularly the members of the minority, who then fired back at him at once.