Once upon a time, the august halls of the Philippine Senate was just that — august. Parliamentary procedure and language were at the helm, respected, practised. Back in the days when speeches, debates, and other deliberations were done in the Spanish language, each and every Senator had the highest respect for each other and for their individual selves. Although some of them do not agree on each other regarding various national issues, they do not in any way regarded each other as enemies even if their respective political parties were warring against each other.
Gone are the days of “old school parliamentary talk”. What we hear most of the time from our current crop of senators are pure grandstanding of the highest order, not to mention ad hominem attacks. Privilege speeches are now meant to augment one’s stature and to attack the character of the persons whom they loathe. But during their time, Claro M. Recto, Cipriano Primicias, Manuel Briones, Eulogio A. Rodríguez, Sr., Mariano Jesús Cuenco, Lorenzo Sumúlong (an uncle of President Cory Aquino), Enrique Magalona (a fierce defender of the Spanish language; grandfather of FrancisM), Rogelio de la Rosa, and a host of other Spanish-speaking gentlemen of the old school awed the Filipino masses with their shining personas of respectability and style through their speeches and how they carried themselves. Their lifestyle were neither ostentatious nor severe. They were a class of their own.
During and after elections, whether or not controversies have hounded the election procedures, these gentlemen of the old school still kept their cool toward each other. In argumentation and debate, intelligent sarcasm is what they used, making their minds even sharper and poetic. Nowadays, our senators are more straightforward to the point that they are already losing the respectability of what a senator should really be. In argumentation and rhetoric, one should be poetic.
Speaking of poetic, many senators of past years were poets in the Spanish language. But our generation’s senators couldn’t even compose a verse in English. What we have now are actors, product endorsers, and a bunch of other interesting characters fit for entertainment.
Our Senate has lost it…