MANILA — All it takes is an apology from Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito to cancel any plans of filing an ethics complaint against his colleague for calling the Senate ‘lapdogs’ of the Duterte administration.
“If a person apologizes, end of story. As long as he admits his mistake, end of story. An apology would be good for the institution — not for me — the institution,” Ejercito said in a Kapihan press conference on Wednesday.
Ejercito said that he would rather not file a complaint and would wait until he gets the chance to speak to his colleagues before doing so.
The Senate resumes its regular sessions on July 24.
“I do not want to do this to anybody…but I hope Sen. Trillanes should realize that he should not generalize his colleagues,” Ejercito said.
“We could debate on issues, we may have heated exchanges but we have to refrain from insulting each other because it’s in the Senate rules,” he added.
Ejercito also stressed that his lapdog comment was not true because the Senate, as an independent institution, was given the mandate by voters and not by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
He said that it was not fair to assume that those who agreed with the President were immediately lapdogs as it was not all the time that senators were against the President’s policies.
“We have to give (the President) a chance. It’s not all the time we are against him. Constructive criticism is different from destructive criticism,” Ejercito said.
He said that personally, he supported Pres. Duterte for his commitment to spend trillions of pesos to improve the country’s infrastructure.
However, he said that he opposed the proposed tax reform program as it was “too high.”
“There are still a lot of issues that the Senate has shown that we are independent though we support the administration,” the senator stressed.
“We have to maintain decency here,” he added.
In a separate press conference, Senate Majority Leader and chair of the Senate Ethics Committee Vicente Sotto III, like Ejercito, said that an apology would be the best step Trillanes could make.
Sotto said that it was the “honorable” thing to do but noted that he would not demand it form Trillanes.