MANILA - If there is anyone to blame for the mudslinging between Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor Santiago, it is the people who voted for them, an analyst said.
University of the Philippines political science professor and analyst Clarita Carlos said the behavior of Enrile and Santiago is saddening.
“We did not elect senators for entertainment purposes. Those are done by comedians," she said.
She told radio dzMM, “I was doing my research. The word ‘Senate’ comes from the Latin ‘Senatus’ – or an old man. This is because aging people are linked to wisdom. These two UP graduates did not even show wisdom yesterday.”
Carlos was referring to the privilege speech of Santiago on Wednesday, her counterattack against Enrile’s speech last week.
Enrile had called Santiago an “obsessive hater,” “inane,” “deranged,” “cuckoo,” and with “hallucinated [images] of a hostile mind,” “walang asim,” among others.
Santiago’s turn came yesterday where she directly faced Enrile and hurled various accusations.
“The man is an incorrigible liar and criminal, as brought out by the litany of his crimes against the Filipino people.
Accordingly, I respectfully urge the justice secretary to order an immediate and exhaustive investigation into the following crimes under the Penal Code committed by Enrile,” she said.
She also called him a plunderer, human rights violator, tax evader, smuggler and womanizer.
Enrile smirked many times during her speech while holding and sometimes playing “Bejewelled” on his tablet.
Carlos said the mudslinging should not be part of the supposed august chambers of Congress.
“The reason why the Senate is the only one that can ratify treaties [and not the House of Representatives (HOR) is because they are endowed with the superior attributes. The HOR can look up to them,” she said.
She said the public should not accept this brazen attitude and corruption of their representatives in Congress.
“We can’t accept this as the new normal…It can only mean ‘kabastusan’…The normal is conducting themselves in proper decorum.”
While the public can always turn off their television when seeing this kind of behavior from elected officials, “the institutional damage is already there,” she said.
She said a “people’s protest” is needed to push these lawmakers to attend to their real work, which is to legislate.
“Our expectations have gone down. We vote for flawed characters. We should be the ones faulted. Like bringing to power a president based on popularity. Is these the kinds of competencies we want?” Carlos said.
Carlos said important matters have been glossed over by the feud in the Senate.
“I was talking to entrepreneurs yesterday and they do not know that they will be engulfed in a borderless ASEAN community soon. This is because the government is not preparing them.”
“There is again a Yolanda coming, and the name is ASEAN [integration], and we are not prepared,” she said.