Press Release
January 7, 2018

Drilon sees efforts to abolish senate, shift to unilateral congress

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon warned on Sunday of deliberate efforts to weaken the senate in order to lay the groundwork for the abolition of the upper chamber and pave the way for a unilateral system of legislature.

"I am very alarmed and concerned about this continued attack on the senate. It appears to be part of deliberate and sustained efforts to weaken and embarrass the senate as an institution," Drilon said in an interview with DZBB on Sunday.

"For me, these attacks are meant to demean the senate in order to lay the groundwork for the abolition of the senate and pave the way for a unilateral congress," he added.

Drilon said this as he urged Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III "to be more vigilant in defending the independence and integrity of the senate" amidst the negative criticisms hurled against it by members of the House of Representatives led by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

He said the senate has always resisted efforts from any quarter to undermine its independence. "The independence of the senate is seriously guarded by the senators," he added.

"He (Pimentel) must rise above partisan political interest to defend the senate regardless of his political affiliation. Otherwise, the senate, unfortunately, becomes irrelevant as an institution of democracy in our system of governance," Drilon said.

In a separate interview over DWIZ on Saturday, the minority leader said that he was saddened by the attacks to the institution and made a similar call for Pimentel to defend the senate.

"I am saddened. This is the first time, in my 20 years as a senator, that I have seen a Speaker attacking the Senate," Drilon said.

"It demeans the Senate as an institution. It could weaken the senate as one of the pillars of the democracy, which provides the necessary check and balance to hold our officials accountable," he stressed.

The minority leader said that the Senate President has the obligation to defend the senate as an institution of democracy.

Drilon said the attack against the Senate was similar to the attacks hurled against the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights and the Supreme Court, whose chief justice is facing an impeachment case.

"This is very alarming. If we let these attacks to continue, then it's a matter of time before we see our democracy collapsing because critical institutions such as the Senate are weakened," Drilon said.

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