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Senators told not just to heed JPE’s ‘roll call’

/ 11:57 PM November 07, 2012

I AGREE with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile: Senators should “spend more time inside the session hall instead of disappearing the moment their attendance is recorded at roll call” (“JPE to peers: Why don’t you work for a change?” Inquirer, 10/30/12).

Senators shortchange us, the electorate, when they (mis)use their time on activities that are not germane to their primary duty, which is to draft, introduce, amend, repeal and debate bills, among other responsibilities. It is imprudent for them to spend more time for their other personal pursuits rather than for discharging in earnest their legislative duties. I suggest that the Senate should present to the public a record on how much time is spent by each senator for legislation, for visiting his hometown and other personal pursuits like media interviews, infomercials, film-making and the like. I suspect senators spend most of their time thinking of ways to win enough votes in the next election.

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Meanwhile, prior to the 2013 midterm elections, we as a people should also be more circumspect and spend more time thinking of ways to clamp down on senators who, in search of reelection, go slack on their legislative work and focus more on their political future.

Let us remember that the senators are elected into office to make laws in a responsible manner. Legislating requires dedicated and full-time senators, for they have to meticulously study the proposed laws. This is to avoid the making of haphazard laws like the Cybercrime Prevention Act. Simply put, we don’t get better laws from senators who spend their time on inconsequential activities.

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To quote the late President John F. Kennedy from his famous book “Profiles in Courage,” “Senators, we hear, must be politicians—and politicians must be concerned only with winning votes, not with statesmanship or courage.”

In fine, senators should be seriously legislating, not just answering roll calls and, thereafter, gallivanting around.

—REGINALD B. TAMAYO, asst. city council secretary, Marikina City

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TAGS: legislative duties, letters, politics, Senate, senators, Statesmanship
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