A problem like the Senate

IT MUST have been the maroon robes—and the fact that the senators of the Republic, with one outrageous exception, were on their best behavior in the glare of TV lights during the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona early this year.

But the developing public impression of Senate gravitas, commitment to truth and justice, and good sense during that time—akin almost, though not quite, to the respect the Senate used to enjoy during the days of Claro M .Recto, Jose P.Laurel and Lorenzo Tanada—is fast giving way to collective disgust.

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Decline and fall

The appalling state of Philippine political and government institutions was painfully on display via what was happening to and in the Philippine Senate barely a week ago — on the eve of an election campaign that promises to be no better in the results than past electoral exercises.

As in the case of the Presidency, the House of Representatives and even the Supreme Court, Senate prestige and credibility has been on the decline since 1990. From the 1950s to the declaration of martial law in 1972 among the most respected entities of government, the Senate when revived after 1986 enjoyed only a brief period of public esteem, among other reasons because of the election to that body of incompetents and clowns who slept their way through its sessions, but at least one of whom managed to be President.

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