MANILA - "Sarap ng buhay" may soon be over for Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa.
This, as the neophyte lawmaker would have to appear in person at the Senate soon after going viral for remarking "sarap ng buhay!" (this is the life!) at the end of the Senate's hybrid session Tuesday, which he attended virtually.
On Wednesday's session, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who has been presiding over the chamber's sessions in person at the Senate session hall, said that he, along with Senators Panfilo Lacson, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian and Sen. Francis Tolentino- who have also been physically present- were instructing Dela Rosa to join them.
"We are hereby directing Senator Bato Dela Rosa to attend the session on Monday physically because he is becoming very popular on social media," said Sotto, drawing some laughs from other lawmakers.
"So you can enjoy the birthday merienda of Sen. Ping Lacson on Monday," Sotto told Dela Rosa.
"Will comply, Mr. President," replied Dela Rosa with a grin.
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri then ribbed Dela Rosa: "Mr. President, para 'yung statement niya will be, pagkatapos, "mahirap na ang buhay" kasi hanggang alas-10 na siya sa Senado."
(Mr. President, so that his statement after will be "life is hard now" because he will be at the Senate until 10 p.m.)
At the end of Tuesday's Senate session, Dela Rosa had told his fellow lawmakers as they said goodbye: "Sarap ng buhay! Sarap ng buhay! Ganito na lang tayo palagi ah!
(This is the life! This is the life! Let's keep it this way!)
This drew the ire of the public and some officials, saying it was an insensitive remark as thousands suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Dela Rosa explained he made the remark because he felt Senate sessions were more efficient when done via online conferencing.
The Senate shifted to hybrid sessions- where some members are physically at the session hall in Pasay City and others attend virtually from their homes- because of continuing precautions over the coronavirus disease.
Three lawmakers had earlier tested positive and recovered from the virus- Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sonny Angara and Aquilino Pimentel III- along with several Senate staffers.
The Senate tested its personnel when session resumed earlier this month.