By: Julliane Love De Jesus - Reporter / @JLDejesusINQINQUIRER.net
Ejercito, Sotto fire back at Trillanes' 'offensive' remarksNews
Apologizing would be “an honorable way out,” Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III told his colleague Senator Antonio Trillanes IV after he made a controversial statement calling the Senate a “puppet” of President Duterte and his administration.
Sotto initially refused to comment if he would demand an apology from Trillanes but he later said, “Instead of saying it’s the easy way out, it’s the honorable way out.”
Sotto said agreeing with the policies of the Duterte administration does not make them lapdogs of the President.
He maintained that the President never dictated any of the senators nor compelled them to support his policies and programs.
“Medyo mali siguro ‘yung mga terms na ginagamit kaya nagiging offensive kasi pag sinabi mong ‘puppet,’ ang ibig sabihin nun ang Malacañang ang nagdidikta kung ano ‘yung mangyayari (The terms he’s using is wrong, which is why it’s offensive, because if you say ‘puppet,’ it means the Malacañang dictates what happens)… For example the declaration of martial law, and you agree with the declaration of martial law, puppet ka na no’n (that immediately makes you a puppet)? Hindi naman siguro (Not really),” he said.
Senator JV Ejercito, for his part, said Trillanes has to apologize not to the senators, but to the Senate as an institution.
“An apology would be good for the institution. Not for me, it’s for the institution. We have to maintain decency. We have to maintain parliamentary ethics in the Senate,” Ejercito said in the forum.
But he said, once a person apologizes, “end of story. Hindi po tayo ‘yung nag-sorry na sige pa rin, hindi ka pa rin titigil (We don’t say sorry yet still continue doing it).”
Although he is not keen on filing an ethics complaint against Trillanes, Ejercito cited the rules an unruly member of the Senate is violating.
Ejercito cited a portion of the Rules of the Senate, particularly Section 97 which says, “Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, the Senate may punish any Member for disorderly behavior and, with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire membership, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension shall not exceed sixty (60) calendar days.”
“Kaya nga meron mga rules ang Senado, there are rules of the senate to maintain proper decorum, maintain proper behavior,” he said.
Trillanes criticized some of his colleagues for being “cowards” as they refuse to investigate issues that would hurt the Duterte administration.
“‘Yung senado na dating last bastion of demoracy, ngayon wala na. Para na rin kaming mga tuta ng administrasyon na ‘to (The Senate used to be the last bastion of demoracy, but now it’s not. It’s as if we’re lapdogs of the administration),” Trillanes said during the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel forum on Monday.
“Ni ayaw magimbestiga eh. Dito ka makakakita ng mga Senador na takot. Kaalyado ka na lang kasi ayaw mong aminin na takot ka eh (They don’t want to investigate. You can see senators who are afraid. You’re just an ally because you don’t want to admit you’re afraid),” he said. JE/ac