Albert Francis E. Domingo, MD

my flight of ideas

Senators are also Human :-)

Posted on | September 16, 2004 | No Comments

[Note: This was originally posted on my first blog at]

This morning found myself digressing once more from my academic functions to pursue a goal that in the long run would help my school.

Philippine Senate - Committee Hearing

I attended a Senate Committee on Education, Culture and Arts Public Hearing on the new UP Charter, as qualified by Sen. Sergio R. Osmeña’s SB 221, Sen. Manuel B. Villar Jr.’s SB 566, Sen. Edgardo J. Angara’s SB 1066, and Sen. Franklin M. Drilon’s SB 1106. Tailing this list is Sen. Francis N. Pangilinan’s SB 1399. All of them are similarly titled “An Act to Strengthen the University of the Philippines as the National University,” coming from the 12th Congress’ SB 2587.
There was a joke meant to impress that the meeting there was already like a Senate Session by itself, because out of the roster of 23 Senators, 12 were present. They were Senators Biazon, Cayetano, Drilon, Enrile, Flavier, Lim, Magsaysay, Osmeña, Pangilinan, Pimentel, Roxas, and Villar.

The panel consisted of notable figures in the UP Community.  (Forgive me please, dear reader if you were one of them and I didn’t recall your name.)

The oppositors included UP Wide Democratization Movement II (Widem II) members such as Dr. Edberto Villegas (UPM-CAS), Dr. Delen Dela Paz (UPCM), Ms. Krissy Conti (UPD-Stand UP), Mr. Ken Ramos (UPM-USC), and an All UP Workers Union representative.

On the part of the supporters, there were members of the UP Administration including Dr. Ma. Serena Diokno (UP VPAA), Dr. Carmelo Alfiler (PGH Director), and two students – Mr. Kris Ablan (UPD-USC), and myself (UP MSC).

The oppositors were given the floor to speak first. They took turns in attempting to read statements, which Sen. Flavier (the Committee Chair and Presiding Officer of the Hearing) requested be summarized and only the salient points be read. The first to speak was Dr. Villegas who opened his speech in Filipino with explanations on why he wanted to speak Tagalog before the community, reportedly because he wanted to be Nationalistic.

Sen. Pimentel angrily cut him around two to three times at that point, and what I recalled as the Senator’s reason for interjecting was that he found it prejudiced to say that only the Tagalogs are nationalistic; he emphasized that the Bisayas from Mindanao are also nationalistic.

Ms. Krissy Conti finished the oppositor’s side by manifesting unto the floor certain fees that are allegedly charged of UP students, including “cell phone charging fees”, etc.

Next came the supporters, and contrary to what was expected, the students were the ones to speak first before the UP Administrators. UP Diliman University Student Council Chair Ablan took the floor first, followed by myself. UP VPAA Diokno finished the supporter’s side.

The Question-and-Answer portion followed next, wherein notable comments were Sen. Biazon’s request for someone in UP to make a study on “indebtedness”; Sen. Enrile’s promise that he shall bat for full tax exemption for all UP transactions; Sen. Cayetano’s inquiries on the PGH and taking notice of the fees mentioned by Conti; and Sen. Drilon’s and Enrile’s promise that the State will never abandon UP in terms of subsidy. They specifically said that UP will continue to enjoy lump sum allocations from the General Appropriations Act.

Why did I refer to the Senators’ humanity when I wrote the title of this entry? Because it was touching and rather humbling to see that behind that handsome or pretty face in the political ads, despite all the bickering in tradional politics, and contrary to negative popular perceptions, Senators are human beings too with needs, feelings, and emotions.

Philippine Senate

The imagery I remember best regarding this humanity of our leaders is that of Sen. Pangilinan playing on the floor with his daughter Frankie after the hearing was terminated; a scene that also involved the witty Sen. Flavier’s fatherly gestures towards the child.

Oh, and I finally got to use those cute microphones you see on TV that government officials use during hearings/meetings. The red light really has a significance, and the chair can cut off your mic if he thinks you’ve said too much.

(I think it best for me not to elaborate on arguments here; it would be plain biased because I will surely tend to glorify the supporters and rebut the oppositors. Please find out from other sources for the information to be objective.)

Bookmark and Share


Leave a Reply

  • Meta

  • Also at