Business as usual at Senate despite arrests

Posted at 06/25/14 4:17 AM

MANILA, Philippines - It will be business as usual for the Senate despite the detention of Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and the looming arrest of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said yesterday the Senate would continue to make laws.

“Work at the Senate will continue,” he said in Filipino. “The chairmanships of Senators Bong and Jinggoy will go to their vice chairmen. Senator Jinggoy has manifested as to who will take over the bills on the floor.”

Revilla is chairman of the Senate committee on public services while Estrada heads the committee on labor, employment and human resources development.

Estrada had manifested before the plenary that he had temporarily transferred to Senators Juan Edgardo Angara and Pia Cayetano the duty of defending pending measures under his committee.

Drilon said the Senate will be busy reviewing next year’s proposed national budget, as well as the passage of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law once session resumes.

“I am confident that we will be able to continue working as we have worked in the past year,” he said.

Drilon sees no problem with the Senate gathering majority votes and quorums during plenary session and committee hearings.

“No problem,” he said. “The quorum is not a problem.”

Drilon said if Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile is arrested, Deputy Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III will assume his duties.

“Senator Sotto will be the acting minority leader because he is the deputy minority leader,” he said in Filipino.

Drilon said the Senate as an institution must be differentiated from the individual senators.

“The Senate is not the same as the senators,” he said.

“We will just have to work harder to prove to the people that they should continue to have full trust in the Senate.”