No rift with Senate, Koko — Alvarez

Senate President Koko Pimentel (right) and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez with Tagum City Mayor Allan Lopez Rellon (left) during the Duterte rally in Davao del Norte on Feb. 13, 2016. (Photo by PTLavina)

SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday said he has no personal rift with the Senate or Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III for commenting that senators are sitting on bills passed by the House of Representatives.

“Magkaibigan kami. Alam mo sa akin kasi, trabaho lang. Ito, lahat ito trabaho lang,” Alvarez said in a radio interview.

Pimentel defended the Senate by saying on Wednesday that when it comes to the deliberation and approval of proposed measures, the senators study the bills thoroughly before passing them.

But Alvarez said, “Alam mo, yung sinasabing ganyan, depensa na lang iyan. Ang tagal-tagal naman ng pag-aaral na iyan, walang mangyayari sa atin kung mag-aaral tayo habang buhay. Matatapos na lang yung termino natin nag-aaral pa rin tayo.”

Alvarez said the Senate should just face reality and admit its shortcomings as he cited the death penalty bill that the House has passed in March last year but remains pending in the Senate.

“Hirap na hirap kami dito sa House of Representatives, nag-o-overtime yung mga congressmen para lang maipasa yung isang panukalang batas. Pagdating naman sa Senado sumasabit, nakabinbin doon. Tingnan mo yung death penalty, hanggang ngayon nandoon pa rin, inaamag na yun,” Alvarez said.

Restoration of capital punishment is one of the top promises of President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 presidential election campaign as part of his peace and order platform.

Alvarez said the slow passage of important legislation can be addressed through a shift to a federal form of government that the ruling party, Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino, is pushing for. Pimentel is the chairman of the PDP while Alvarez is the secretary general of the party.

“Kapag ganyan, isulong na natin yung pag-revise ng ating Saligang Batas para mapabilis naman yung ating proseso dito sa ating bansa,” Alvarez said.

Earlier, Alvarez said he would talk to Pimentel as soon as Congress resumes its session on January 15 to initiate the process of convening the Senate and the House into a constituent assembly and prepare a new constitution that would install a federal form of government. p: wjg