Bato gets flak for comments on Senate vote

Jove Moya

NEOPHYTE Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is under fire after he expressed dismay over the failure of the majority bloc in the Senate to come through for a resolution related to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Senate Resolution 337, which received 12-0-8 votes on Monday, March 2, seeks to ask the Supreme Court (SC) on the need for Senate concurrence in the abrogation of the VFA with the United States.

Dela Rosa, a loyal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, was among the eight senators who abstained from voting. The resolution questions the administration's move to scrap the VFA on instructions of Duterte.

He expressed dismay after some members of the majority bloc voted in favor of the resolution, which was sponsored by Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

“Pasalamat sana si Minority Leader (Drilon)..He is from the minority group, but he got the majority vote. So dapat nagpasalamat siya ‘don,” Dela Rosa said.

(Minority Leader Drilon should be thankful. He is from the minority group, but he got the majority vote.)

In an interview at the Senate Tuesday, Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III schooled Dela Rosa on how the Senate works.

“That is his perspective, hindi puwedeng maging totoo ‘yon. Baka hindi pa nila nafi-feel ‘yong mga kagawian sa Senado. Hindi porke majority ka, all the time lahat ng gusto mo mananalo. This is the Senate. We are open to free debate,” said Sotto.

(Being in the majority bloc does not guarantee that you would win at all times.)

“If you are a fledging senator, you need more time to get the ins and the outs. Hindi nase-seminar ‘yan,” he added.

Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri explained his vote.

“When you enter the Senate, it is altogether a different story. I’ve been in the House, my priority was my constituents,” he said.

“Sana huwag tayo magkasamaan ng loob, dahil ito po, para sa amin, ay para sa institusyon. (I hope this would not cause a rift among us because, for us, this is for the institution.) My vote is not against the President but to protect our institution on future questions that may arise on future administrations," he added.

Drilon, for his part, expressed sadness that not all senators supported the resolution.

“All that we are asking the SC is to define our constitutional boundaries—this is my 21st year in this chamber, that is why it saddens me that we cannot even get a unanimous vote to go to the Supreme Court to answer that question,” Drilon said. (SunStar Philippines)