Sotto: Senate ready to assist, orient new members

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 15) — Veteran senators will guide their new colleagues once they assume office, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said Wednesday.

In a statement, Sotto said the Senate staff can always offer orientation for new senators.

“The Senate secretariat is always ready to assist the new Senators anytime upon request/instruction, as they always do every time there is a new member of the Senate,” the Senate President said. 

Pwede rin individual ang (There’s also individual) briefing for new senator,” he added.

Sotto said the secretariat can offer training and orientation on the legislative process to newly-hired senatorial staff.

CNN Philippines’ interview with former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa made rounds online Tuesday evening, after the senatorial candidate admitted he has yet to learn what a senator really does.

Dela Rosa, one of the leading bets based on partial, official election tally, added he will also take part in lawmaking seminars should he win a Senate seat.

Incumbent senators said they will also offer pieces of advice should the latter win.

“We will be meeting with the new members and give them some tips or lectures as was done to my batch in 2001. Bato need not worry,” Senator Ping Lacson said in a statement.

Crash course?

The University of the Philippines National Center for Public Administration and Governance (UP NCPAG) offers a short course on legislation for new lawmakers. Some of the program’s notable alumni include Senator Nancy Binay, Quezon City Representative Alfred Vargas, and Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.

UP NCPAG Dean Maria Fe Mendoza said the program aims to orient solons about the process of creating and passing bills, as well as how to navigate the legislative mill.

She added the program can be customized depending on the senator’s schedule.

“The customized course deals on the roles of policy makers, what issues... basically developing his or her legislative agenda, what he... the processes that he or she would undergo in order to sponsor a bill,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said Dela Rosa is welcome on campus. However, the former national police chief stressed he is not keen on enrolling in the country’s premier state university.

"'Pag UP 'di na ko pupunta dun, alanganin ako sa lugar na 'yan. Anti-military 'yang lugar na 'yan, ayaw ko pumunta d'yan, anti-police 'yan," he said, referring to the University of the Philippines.

[Translator: I won't go to UP. It's anti-military and anti-police, so I won't go there.]

Gomez, who won his reelection bids, advised Dela Rosa to take short, one-on-one courses in NCPAG.

“He will be taught how to craft a law. Kasama rin doon (it also includes) on how to work with agencies,” said Gomez, who also took courses on legislation under the same department, in an interview with CNN Philippines.

Gomez added there’s nothing wrong with learning new things.

“When you take these courses, you have to approach this with an open mind. He has to take these with humility. There's nothing wrong naman with learning and being taught,” the actor-turned-public official added.

CNN Philippines' Alyssa Rola, Robert Vergara, Xianne Arcangel, and Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.