'Practice of humility': Sotto lauds Gatchalian for bringing back 'balangay' bill to committee level

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2020 08:50 PM

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian. Senate PRIB/File

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday lauded Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian for pushing to bring back to the committee level a bill he sponsored, saying the feat was a "rare" show of "humility" in the chamber.

Gatchalian - who chairs the Committee on Basic Education Arts and Culture - wanted to withdraw a bill he is sponsoring in plenary, saying the panel needs to rediscuss the details of the measure naming the balangay as the official boat of the Philippines.

"The committee should consider these new matters including allowing new resource persons and experts - including a marine archeologist - whose relevant study on the balangays need to be presented in a public hearing," Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said in plenary, quoting a correspondence from Gatchalian.

"I think he (Gatchalian) got rattled with the line of questioning of Sen. [Franklin] Drilon," the Senate Majority Leader said.

Drilon earlier questioned Gatchalian on why the balangay was being named as the national boat when it was barely heard of in Visayas and Mindanao.

Other Filipinos are more familiar with the "vinta," said Drilon, who hails from Iloilo.

"Sen. Gatchalian is made of good stuff because this is rare that a senator allows a committee report or something on the floor be brought back to the committee," Sotto said.

"That is a practice of humility," he said.

Sotto noted that in 1993, he also withdrew a bill he was sponsoring in plenary after an indigenous group said that they were not consulted about the proposal.

"A group of indigenous people went to see Sen. Edgardo Angara and told him they were not invited to a committee hearing in the House, especially in the Senate," Sotto recalled.

"So he (Angara) was asking me to bring it back myself instead of making the motion," he said.

While other senators advised him not to pull out the bill in plenary for the sake of his "pride," Sotto said he chose to withdraw the measure that ought to "declare a tourist zone in Palawan."

"Pride is the head of Satan. Humility is his headache," Sotto said.