Lacson: Not even the President can dictate on the Senate

MANILA — Senator Panfilo Lacson called House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s remarks against the Senate “uncalled for” and smacks of unparliamentary conduct.

“The Senate works differently from the House in that we think and act more independently as individual members,” Lacson said in a text message.

“Nobody, not the Senate President and even the President of the Republic can dictate on us,” Lacson stressed.

Alvarez has recently been critical of the Senate, throwing snide remarks at the Upper House for being “slow” and supposedly failing to act on measures already approved by the House of Representatives.

But Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III over the weekendretorted: “Hindi po subordinate ng House ang Senate (The Senate is not a subordinate of the Lower House) and that is also true the other way around. A measure before it becomes law must pass both chambers.”

“That is the basic principle. We have to respect the decision of each chamber,” Pimentel said.

Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon believes the attacks of the House Speaker against the Senate is part of the plan to weaken the Upper Chamber and pave the way for a unicameral congress.

Drilon has urged the Senate leadership to defend its integrity and independence against any attempt to “abolish” it.

He said Pimentel should “rise above partisan political interest to defend the Senate regardless of his political affiliation.”

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalianbacked Lacson’s statement saying the Senate’s job is crucial especially since they pass measures that are of national importance.

“By design of the Constitution, the Senate and the House perform check and balance to each other in order to assure the public that all laws passed are meticulously scrutinized,” Gatchalian said.

“It’s not about quantity but more importantly quality of the legislation that should positively affect the lives of the people,” he said.