The Philippine Senate, Then and Now.

Roughly 100 years ago, we had our first Senatorial election in which our forefathers decided to seat 24 gentlemen from all around our nation to help our then President Emilio Aguinaldo run the government, and not so distant from now (less than a month) we will again, decide to elect 12 of our senators, with the same purpose, hundred years back.

But, what was the difference back then, when seating a senator compared to now, is there a big difference or everything remained the same?

Let us see.

The first senatorial election was held on October 3, 1916 after the passage of the Jones Law, an act that created the Philippine Senate. Before the act was passed, it was the sole discretion of the President to seat whom he, or his faction, feels is capable in helping him in running the government. But with the law enacted, it was the first time in our history to give the power to the people to choose their own senators.

Also, our first senators are representatives of our 12 regions, like a congressman today, since the lower house was not yet commissioned before, making the balance of power in every provinces and regions. Included in that batch was our eventually 2nd president Manuel Quezon, who was also the first Senate President of our Country.

Quezon was the most popular senators before, not only because he garnered the most votes in his hometown, but he was also one of Don Emilio Aguinaldo’s closest ally and friend, before they have fallen apart due to Aguinaldo’s decision to heavily side with the Americans when the 2nd Presidential Election was coming.

Aside from him, majority of our first senators were also War veterans like Pedro Maria Sison who had represented La Union, Pangasinan, and Zambales, Isauro Gabaldon from Nueva Ecija who had represented Region 3, and Francisco Villanueva from Ilo-Ilo city who had pushed the envelop in order to include the Visayas region in the first Malolos Congress.

These gentlemen are not only war veterans, who had put their lives in line for the love of our country, but also lawyers and statesman by profession. Don Pedro Maria Sison had a province under his belt (Sison, Pangasinan more popularly known as the last stop and first bus stop of buses, mostly Victory Liners, to and from Baguio City) and Gabaldon Nueva Ecija after the late Statesman Isauro Gabaldon.

To add, during the first senatorial election, we only had 2 political parties which was Nacionalista and Progresista unlike today we had tons of them, which only makes the choosing very difficult but also gives avenue to undeserving candidates to run for the seat like most of our senators and politicians today (local and national).

That being said, let us look now into our current Senate as well as have a glimpse on the latest survey of the front runners for senators.

Now, out of the 24 seats, we only have 7 lawyers and two of the most brilliant minds to ever graced the Philippine Politics were on their twilight years, Juan Ponce Enrile is at 92 years old and Miriam Defensor-Santiago is at 70, who is also running for the presidency but is the last, according to the latest survey. The current Senate President Franklin Drilon, the Cayetano Siblings, Chiz Escudero and the BAR top notcher Koko Pimentel completes the list of the Senator Lawyers.

If you may ask, am I being biased to lawyers, yes, not that I am one, but as a Senator, I think, he who understands the law can and will make better laws for the land, the learning curve will be shorter compared to those who have difficulty in understanding it, this is not an absolute truth but a mere observation of the author, and probably majority of the thinking voters of the land.

Aside from the 7 Lawyers, to somehow complete the list of our senators, we 3 have former movie action stars (Lapid, Revilla, Estrada), a business mogul (Villar), a daughter of a longtime politician (Binay), 2 former rebel leader (Trillanes, Honasan), an anchor woman (Legarda), 2 sons of former Philippine president (Ejercito, Marcos), 3 sons of former senator (Guingona, Angara, Osmena), Cousin of the current PNoy (Aquino), a former senator and host of Eat Bulaga (Sotto), daughter of the Philippine Action Movie King (Poe), and husband of the Philippine’s Star for all Season (Recto).

It was arguably, if not the, one of the most diverse pool of senators we had since its conception 100 years ago, but the sad thing was, they only lived half (or even less) to the expectation of bringing different hats and tricks on the table, but was blemished by the very different propagandas, scandals, and personal issues.

Nonetheless, we will cut half of them, in the coming days, and try to replace them with a better version, hopefully, but judging from the latest survey, we might be having another zoo for senators, hopefully not.

First on the survey was Tito Sotto (God bless Aldub), then by re-electionist Franklin Drilon, and familiar faces up until the fourth. Coming in five is (Lord have Mercy on us) Filipino Sensation and boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, who was not only known for his speed and left hook, but also for his absences as a congressman. As per the record, he only went inside the Batasang Pambansa, this year alone, 4 times, but unfortunately he is ahead, in fact way ahead of senatoriables who are far more capable than him like Isko Moreno, Toots Ople, and Jerico Petilla, to name a few.

Going back to the list, second timer (hopeful) Risa Hontiveros, who is known to be  an ally of the progressive group Akbayan, who are known to purposely disrupt presidential speaking engagements, form unorganized movements against all the presidents, vandalize government properties, etc. etc. is seventh from the list. If my calculations are correct, she will be the first person from the activist group to have a seat in the senate, and the saddest part is that we might be funding their rallies and whatnot along the way, so God Help Us.

On the brink of the list was former DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima, who was not only a Lawyer but a worker as well. Giving her the credit, she had worked her ass of as the Justice Secretary, and I think, she can hold herself as a senator. Unfortunately, like 9th front runner, Joel Villanueva, they have been tarnished with their political ads, who might have been our money, but who gives a rat’s A anyways. No One but a few of us.

I might be on the edge of judging their capabilities and characters but you can’t blame me, I guess, because of the past. We had better senators then who had the chance to shape our nation into greatness but opted not to, and with these list, I can’t argue anymore. I hope I am wrong.

Let us all vote wisely, let us pick the most competent of the candidates and not the most popular, because at the end of the day, competent beats the popular, all day.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s