(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada on Sunday, June 18 expressed his support to former Senate president Franklin Drilon’s recent remarks on the need for the Upper Chamber’s leadership to address criticisms about the lack of decorum of some senators.
Having served as Senate president pro tempore for six years and presiding over countless plenary session proceedings, Estrada said he “acknowledges the importance of maintaining professionalism and respectful conduct within our esteemed institution.”
Estrada held the Senate Pro Tempore position from 2007 to 2013 or during the 14th and 15th Congress.
“I have, as the presiding officer, handled instances where emotions run high during debates and we, officers of the Senate intervene to restore order and ensure that proceedings continue respectfully and productively,” Estrada said in a statement.
“I believe there are steps we can take to address these concerns and uphold the integrity of the Senate,” he said.
He pointed out there exists some provisions in the Senate Rules governing unparliamentary acts and language of any member of the chamber.
Needless to say, Estrada also said a senator may also be called to order for a transgression of the Senate Rules.
“The current Senate is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds, ideologies, and experiences. It is crucial to understand that the dynamics within the Senate reflect the diverse backgrounds and convictions of its members,” he said.
“Each member should take responsibility for their words and actions, taking into consideration the impact they have on the Senate’s reputation and public trust. We, Senators, should strive to be role models of professionalism, and set an example for our colleagues and future generations of legislators,” added the senator.
“Addressing the criticisms of a lack of decorum within the Senate requires a collective effort from the leadership and individual senators,” he reiterated.
Estrada further acknowledged that constructive feedback is an essential part of the democratic process “and the lack of decorum in our chamber has been a cause for concern.”
“As public servants entrusted with the responsibility of representing our constituents, we must demonstrate the values we hold dear,” he reiterated.
Drilon, in a recent interview with Senate reporters, urged Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri to address the lack of proper decorum during plenary sessions and committee hearings.
The former Senate minority leader said the Senate leadership has the burden to make sure that the Senate’s prestige and credibility is maintained.
“Because if not, if you weaken the Senate, the executive branch would run roughshod over the Senate,” Drilon warned.