Press Release
July 22, 2019

Nominating the Retention of Vicente Sotto III as Senate President
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto
22 July 2019

The truth is, Senator Tito is better in writing laws than in writing songs. He is better in putting ideas into policies than words into music.

Yes, he might have built an impressive catalogue of songs, but this does not compare to his greatest hits in lawmaking.

He has amassed these in more than 30 years, from that day in 1988 when he first banged the gavel as presiding officer of the Quezon City Council, to that Wednesday night last month when he gavelled the closing of business of the productive Senate of the 17th Congress.

On his own, he has authored laws too many to count, on every issue that matters.

But while the Senate scoreboard displays the names of the sponsors of a bill, it does not tally the hours one has spent in finalizing and finessing a measure others had authored but one seeks to improve.

In this, Tito, through many congresses, had shown mastery of parliamentary skills, honed by years of serving as majority leader, and matched only by the generosity to share it.

Tito has an ear for music--and they say an eye for beauty too, as shown by his lovely wife-- and this willingness to listen more than to speak, he had applied in composing laws too.

Kahit presiding officer siya, nakikinig 'yan, at bigla na lang may itatanong sa sponsor, o kaya mag-i-interject sa interpellation, and sometimes he will wade into the middle of it, yield the chair, and join the merry debate on the floor.

There is another aspect that this keen perception of his has served the Senate. An expert in retail politics, Tito has kept his ear constantly pressed to the ground. When you have Tito, you do not need a political weather vane to gauge the public sentiment.

When a major bill is being discussed, I have made it a point to always ask,"Tito, ano kaya tingin ng tao dito?" because more important than the prose of legislation is the public reception to it.

And he has always been prescient in his prediction, but it does not mean he will always go where the wind blows, or to rush where the applause is waiting, because in many fights he had waged, he would rather be right than popular.

As an artist, Tito knows that no matter how beautiful the score, it depends on the symphony which will play it, and in this Tito has proven himself as the skillful conductor of 24 independent republics who like to toot their own horn, beat their own drum and sing their own song.

And this is the same formula which two other Senate Presidents in this assembly - Frank and Koko - had employed in making sure that despite our diversity, that despite the fact that we may not always sing in perfect harmony always-- but as a whole, we must not sing out of tune with the people.

The people's impression of the Senate is what they see on TV, of 24 men and women sitting in this hall, or grilling witnesses in one of the rooms.

The fact is, most of our labors are done outside the glare of klieg lights--in conference rooms where the humdrum of policymaking is endured for hours.

The beating heart of the Senate is not in this volleyball court-size chamber which comes to life at 3pm three times a week, but in rooms where policies are discussed and debated.

The session hall may be the showroom, but the production line lies somewhere else. It has been said that the Senate in session is the Senate in exhibition. But the Senate conducting committee hearings is a Senate at work.

And on this, Tito has shown to be an adept manager. Working behind the scenes. Always checking if the production line of laws is moving. And above all, giving each one of us the independence to pursue our advocacies.

And he assesses a bill solely on its merits, and never the political persuasion of the one sponsoring it. The Sotto rule on bill analysis is this: When it is good for the country, the majority-minority divide dissolves.

It is for the many reasons I have just mentioned that I nominate the retention of Vicente Castelo Sotto III as our Senate President.

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