Is it just us, or is the entire nation groaning at the seemingly endless sniping between Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor Santiago?
Although it was expected, in fact it was scheduled, the privilege speech of the feisty senator from Iloilo delivered yesterday took the Senate to new lows. The accusations and counter-accusations between the two had gone from bad to worse.
What next? Can it reach the point of absolute worst?
At this stage, it would be unfair for us to take sides. Both senior lawmakers have done the Senate proud in the past. This is to be accepted. While they are engaged in what seems to be a pissing contest, the simple fact is that the two of them are considered the best legal minds in the upper house of our bicameral Congress.
As a newspaper, we know full well that there are always two sides to every story. In the case of Enrile vs. Santiago, the points raised by both lawmakers against each other have some basis in fact. But it is also clear that their interpretation of what is the truth is affected by the personal hatred they have for each other.
We can almost feel sorry for Senate President Franklin Drilon, who has to bear the massive egos of the two.
In all likelihood, Drilon had probably asked both to go easy on the other. But the two did not heed the advice of the head of the Senate.
Senator Serge Osmeña is correct when he says that the Senate is wasting its time on the warring lawmakers.
The exchanges between the gentleman from Cagayan and the lady from Iloilo provide the public entertainment, perhaps. But there comes a point when the insults have a cloying effect. The only thing we can say is this: enough already, sir and ma’am.
Obviously yesterday’s fresh tirades from Senator Santiago will land in the front pages of the newspapers and grab substantial airtime on radio and TV. She does, after all, have a gift of using the smart turn of the phrase and humorous one-liners.
Calling Senator Enrile—a former Senate president, no less—a “mastermind of plunder” and a “hyper-sexualized serial womanizer” shows that Senator Santiago’s speech was well-written, with the clear intention of drawing oohs and ahhhs from the gallery.
For his part, the 89-year-old Enrile—Santiago’s constant harping on his age does not sit well with senior citizens, by the way—seems to have written ‘finis’ to the latest snipefest.
He said that he would no longer retaliate. At the very least, this shows that he can still muster the will to act like a true gentleman.
But of course he would not let the day pass without one final salvo, by saying that there was definitely “something wrong” with her mental state.
It is hoped that we have seen and heard the last of the colorful exchanges. And we are happy to note that at least the two lawmakers did not follow the example of lawmakers from other Asian countries, who have been reduced to trading blows on the floor.
What did the late President Cory Aquino like to say?
Sobra na, tama na. We pray that Senators Enrile and Santiago now go back to crafting laws for the good of the country.