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The real Senate eyesores

12:01 AM November 10, 2014

This refers to the commentary titled “Eyesores in the Philippine Senate” (Opinion, 11/5/14).

For the enlightenment of Joseph Jadway Marasigan, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada finished his elementary and secondary education at Ateneo de Manila University and obtained his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of the Philippines. Senator Estrada also took up law at Lyceum of the Philippines and a short course at Harvard University.

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Senator Estrada has been hailed as one of the most prolific lawmakers, having introduced the most number of bills in the Senate. All in all, he has proposed and submitted over 2,000 bills and resolutions for consideration of the chamber. Many of these were passed and enacted into law with him as principal author, sponsor and co-author. Among the most noteworthy of these laws are landmark labor legislation like the Batas Kasambahay and Strengthening the Migrant Workers’ Act. He has also chalked up a perfect attendance record—never absent, never late—for the past regular sessions, a rare feat accomplished only by very few lawmakers.

It is quite unfortunate that Marasigan seemingly overlooked the fact that Senator Estrada received his mandate from the electorate twice—from the last elections, he received an overwhelming 18 million votes from the Filipinos. To diminish and deride the people’s choice and approval of—and trust in—Senator Estrada just because you have other personalities you root for is, using Marasigan’s reference, downright arrogance. All of us have one vote to cast, which makes us all equal.

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We recognize that the supporters of Senator Estrada and former president, now Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada come from the ranks of the masses and the poor. It is for this reason that Senator Estrada as a lawmaker has pushed for various pieces of legislation which aim to improve their lot, to provide them direct benefits and to enhance systems of public service.

We also take exception to Marasigan’s statement that Senator Estrada, along with Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. and Sen. Nancy Binay, is “the personification of everything that’s wrong in Philippine politics, the lowest that a political system could go…. These elected leaders fail so miserably to make us proud as Filipinos.” While we are easy to criticize our leaders, what’s equally important is to examine ourselves and to evaluate how abiding we are by our laws, how generous we are at offering solutions (rather than pointing fingers) and how respectful we are of our neighbors. As any political pundit would agree, the maturity and advancement of any political system do not rest on a few leaders alone, but rely mainly on the greater population of the people.

Finally, let me offer you what and who may be considered eyesores: those using the institution and its resources to advance their selfish political agenda; those shirking from their responsibilities of investigating pressing matters in order to protect political allies; those who are perennially absent in sessions without valid reasons; those who talk too much for media mileage but can’t actually present solid legislative outputs.

—RACQUEL G. MEJIA, chief of staff,

Office of Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada

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TAGS: Jinggoy Estrada, Legislation, letters to the editor, Nancy Binay, opinion, politics, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Senate
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