MANILA - Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa on Monday called Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon his "idol" in lawmaking as the two senators debated on a proposal that sought to increase the number of women in the police force.
The exchange began when Drilon asked Dela Rosa if a law mandating "an incremental increase in the recruitment and training of women in the police force... until 50 percent of the personnel" was referring to half of the entire police force, or to the number of policewomen in specific police divisions.
"I don't know if this 50 percent refers to the whole of PNP or to the services of the forensics, medico-legal and social work services," said the neophyte senator, who served as former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
"I defer to you, Mr. President, kung ano ang tingin ninyo... I respect your opinion because you are my idol pagdating sa crafting of laws," Dela Rosa told Drilon.
"Kahit na nakapikit ang mata mo, alam kong kayang-kaya mo gawin ito that is why I'm asking for your opinion," he said.
(Even with your eyes closed, I know that you can easily do this, that's why I'm asking for your opinion.)
The opposition senator chuckled at Dela Rosa's remark and said that it was up to the administration senator to interpret the measure he is sponsoring in plenary.
"Unfortunately, the good gentleman from Davao is the sponsor and he is supposed to express his opinion in the particular subject," said the senior legislator, who has been a senator for nearly 24 years.
"We are just raising questions here to clarify the subject," he said.
Drilon told Dela Rosa that it is "reasonable" for lawmakers to say that the provision in question was referring only to specific police offices.
"I don't think we can find a system in the entire world where the mandate is gender equality means there is equal number between men and women in the police force," the Senate Minority Leader said.
"I suggest the committee look at this carefully and introduce remedial wording," he said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III ended the discussion by teasing Dela Rosa about his exchange with the senator from Iloilo.
"There is a lesson also to learn, Sen. Dela Rosa, that sometimes flattery does not work," Sotto said and then laughed.
Dela Rosa took the ribbing light-heartedly, telling Sotto in jest: "I am learning, Mr. President."