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Sotto can be Senate president, why not?

05:01 AM May 15, 2018

I found as unfair and patronizing the letter of Neil E. Narca, “Wanbol U Alumnus for Senate President?” (5/1/18) on the prospects of Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III as the next Senate leader, insinuating that since the senator is not a lawyer he might not be the right man to preside over the impeachment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno if this pushes through.

Although a nonlawyer, Sotto, as senate majority leader, was the right-hand man of former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile during the impeachment trial of the late chief justice Renato Corona.

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Because of this, he knows the ins and outs of an impeachment trial and could guide the proceedings to its rightful conclusion.

In belittling the qualifications and capability of Sotto, Narca cites brilliant senators of the past such as Jovito Salonga, Claro M. Recto and Lorenzo Tañada.

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But he failed to mention that it was the late Senate president Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez, a farmer-turned-politician, who held the Senate’s top post for the longest term, from 1953 to 1963.

A nonlawyer like Sotto, Amang earned the goodwill and respect of his colleagues, most of them brilliant lawyers.

In recent years, we can cite former senator Manny Villar, another nonlawyer, who was Senate president from 2006 to 2008. Before him was the late Blas Ople, who was only a high school graduate but who became Senate president from 1999 to 2000.

We all know that to become Senate president, one must have the trust and confidence of majority of the senators who oftentimes cross party lines in choosing their leader.

That Sotto was once upon a time a member of the popular TV sitcom “Iskul Bukol” is beside the point and has no relevance to his being considered as the next Senate president.

In fact, if we go by the record, Sotto is one of our most prolific senators. Since 1992, he has authored a total of 128 laws, among them the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, and Seat Belt Law.

For his staunch anti-illegal drug campaign which he started when he was Quezon City vice mayor, Sotto was twice honored by the US-based International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association where he is also a member.

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ALITO L. MALINAO, Bacoor City, Cavite

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TAGS: Alito B. Malinao, Inquirer letters, Senate presidency, tito sotto, Vicente Sotto III
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