SENATE President Franklin M. Drilon on Thursday told Liberal Party (LP) Rep. Reynaldo Umali to watch his manners and stop interfering in the internal affairs of the Senate.
Drilon’s statement came after Umali proposed a major overhaul of the Senate committee chairmanships once Sens. Grace Poe and Francis Escudero choose to run for a higher office in 2016.
Drilon, the LP’s vice chairman, said his partymate Umali’s statements “constitute a serious breach in the long-standing tradition of inter-parliamentary courtesy.”
Umali is the treasurer of the LP.
Drilon said that Umali, as a fellow legislator, “would do well to stop meddling on the internal matters of the Senate.”
“I strongly urge my partymate Umali to observe interparliamentary courtesy and mind his own business. I am sure that my partymate knows better than to act like a blabbermouth,” Drilon said.
“We must refrain from making statements which do not help the already toxic political environment,” he added.
Drilon said he strongly opposed Umali’s assertion that prospective candidates in the 2016 presidential elections Poe and Escudero should be stripped off of their respective chairmanships of Senate committees.
“Our legislative work in the Senate is immune from partisanship, and I will see to it that it stays that way,” Drilon stressed.
“His [Umalis’s] suggestion is simply absurd, given that we still have to finish a lot of our Legislative priorities in the 16th Congress. We have a close and healthy working relationship in the Senate as evident from a number of measures the chamber has continuously passed,” Drilon said.
The Senate chief said that with less than a year left, he still expects the senators and their respective committees to continue working on pending reform measures of national importance that the Senate has promised the public.
The Senate leader said that regardless of their political plans, he is confident that Poe and Escudero will continue to effectively man their posts, given the crucial functions these committees to public interest. Poe chairs three Senate committees—Public Information and Mass Media; Public Order and Dangerous Drugs; and the Joint Panel on the Human Security Act, while Escudero, is at the helm of three Senate Committees—Environment and Natural Resources, and Joint Committees on the Clean Water Act and Chainsaw Act.