“Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what’s going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate?“ WILL ROGERS
By Alex P. Vidal
The mudslinging bout between Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Juan Ponce Enrile has cost taxpayers millions of pesos. It’s a waste of time and money.
This is happening because we have a useless branch of government that is actually not necessary and should have been abolished a long time ago.
If we have a parliamentary form of government, we can never have the likes of Jinggoy, Bong, Lito Lapid, among other inutile senators. No pork barrel, no popularity contest, and no unnecessary committee investigations that are only actually in aid of grandstanding rather than legislation.
The early senators in history never resorted to personal insults and slander unlike what we have in the Philippines today. Senators had been part of Roman government since Romulus, the first king of Rome, who created 100 senators to advise him, especially in the case of alliances and treaties.
When Romulus died, there was no obvious candidate to replace him and the Roman senators feared that one of the neighboring states would take over Rome, so they set up a temporary government. They gave power to a chosen individual for only five days at time, after which the next in line took over. The time under this rotating government was called an interregnum meaning it was the government between (inter) the kings.
The Roman People were happy to see the end of the interregnum because they felt that during it they were ruled by 100 masters, instead of just a single monarch.
Former Press Secretary Hector R. Villanueva was right when he referred to the upper chamber as “disgraceful senate.”
I agree with Villanueva when he called the Philippine Senate today as “a redundant, effete, wasteful, and costly institution that, in reality, does not represent anybody, or any sector, or any region of the country other than the self-serving interests of its members.”
It is a myth and parody to believe that senators represent the entire Filipino people. Once elected, the senators go their own merry ways, and the nation can go fly a kite till the next election, Villanueva stressed.
“If truth be told, a unicameral National Assembly in a parliamentary form of government can perform just as effectively and rationally without a Senate.
“The Upper Chamber has become unnecessary and irrelevant.
“In many countries, the Senate or upper Assembly is a ceremonial and appointive honorific Chamber composed of retired justices, professors emeritus, retired statesmen, outstanding business leaders, exceptional professionals in the sciences, extraordinary women, and experienced diplomats.
“Its main functions are, among others, as a treaty ratifying body, an impeachment court, a welcoming party to arriving foreign dignitaries, and other ceremonial duties.
“Expectedly, the members are entitled to respectable stipends and perks sans the PDAF to insulate them from corruption and the vagaries of politics.
“Alas, the current 16th Congress, as a whole, is a disgrace to the nation, and a despicably bad example to the youth of the country.
“Hence, it is an opportune time to renew and revive discussions on Constitutional revisions, term limits, and unicameralism.
“Though we have good friends among the senators, and there are outstanding, fresh, youthful, and exciting newly-elected senators, the Philippine Senate itself in recent years has fallen into disrepute, corruption, incessant squabbling, lackluster productivity, and obsessive partisanship that is making the Senate increasingly unnecessary and not cost-effective.
“The Filipino would not miss its absence and demise if the Senate were to be abolished.
“When all is said and done, it is never too late for the senators to redeem themselves and regain the respect and support of the general public.
“However, there is a new generation out there of politically conscious and activist youths who are highly skilled in the use of social media that is double-bladed and can cut both ways.”