Sen. Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Cynthia Villa had a heated argument on Thursday about being physically present at the Senate plenary.
It took root after lawmakers voted on Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa on his bill regarding the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) modernization.
Sen Bong Go was not immediately connected to the internet, so he was not included in the count of present legislators and did not vote on the motion in Dela Rosa.
Lawmakers nominally voted on Dela Rosa’s motion to ratify the bicameral report on his proposal.
Of the 22 senators present physically and virtually, 11 voted ‘yes’ in favor of Dela Rosa’s proposal, 8 said ‘no,’ and 3 abstained.
Sotto was among the 3 who abstained, so he explained his position.
But in his explanation, he said the importance of Go being physically present for his vote to be counted, having previously said that his internet connection is weak.
“Well I don’t, we should put it that way, you will have to be here present physically so that your vote will be counted, hindi ganon,” said Sotto.
Sotto, Villar argued on issue of physical attendance in Senate
Villar immediately replied that he thought Sotto referred to those like her who could not attend the Senate sessions in person.
“Mr. Senate President may I answer that? They don’t allow seniors, in fact maku-kuwestiyon kayo. ‘Pag sinasabi mo palagi na dapat nandito kayo you should consider that we cannot get out. Kayo senior nakakalabas kayo eh you take the risk of being questioned. Because under the protocol the seniors cannot go out of their home,” said Villar.
The two lawmakers almost overlapped in Sotto’s explanation that Villar is not the one he refers to who should be present in the Senate.
“Your honor I was not pertaining to anyone except Senator Go. I was pertaining to Senator Go because he was not here, we was not online during the vote. Even in the roll call,” said Sotto.
Villar answered, “Mr. Senate President, I am not talking of Mr. Go now, I’m just talking that you are always talking that you should be here, how can we be there, we are seniors, we are not allowed to get out of our homes. Masuwerte ka na senior ka pinapayagan ka, pero kung malagay tayo sa diyaryo na mga senior tayo dahil senador tayo, lumalabas tayo sa bahay natin, ‘di ba panget din tingnan ‘yun.”