No Christmas Bonuses this Time for Senators

Senate President Franklin Drilon. Photo credit: The Philippine Star.

Aside from having their pork barrel funds scrapped from the 2014 budget, the senators won’t be receiving bonuses from Senate President Franklin Drilon as well.  Drilon wants to clear the Senate’s image before the public after a year of turmoil regarding the pork barrel scam and last year’s P1.6-million bonuses for most senators from ruling Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

Nevertheless, the senators didn’t seem to mind not receiving any bonus from the new Senate President, recalling the public outcry in the past.  Also, the previous bonus was met with outrage from those who did not receive the same amount, with Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago dragging a number of issues regarding Enrile for the public to know after it was revealed that she only got P250,000 instead of the P1.6 million bonus. She even told the press how she returned the money after Enrile refused her gift of baked goodies from Panaderia de Molo of Iloilo province.

According to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, it was good news that no senators received a bonus this year instead of just 4 last year, referring to himself, his sister Sen. Pia Cayetano, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, and Santiago.  However, he has yet to check other items in his budget such as maintenance and other operating expenses or capital outlay because the P250,000 he received from Enrile last year were credited there.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV also confirmed the news, and also echoed by Sen. Grace Poe who said she did not receive any 13th month pay or bonus from Drilon.  She also expressed how it is better this way to gain back the public’s trust after the P10-billion pork barrel scandal that rocked the Senate this year.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara revealed that although he didn’t receive a bonus from the Senate President, he got a food basket and the inspiring memoir “I am Malala” which was written by the Pakistani teenage girl shot by Taliban for championing women’s rights to education.

Regaining the People’s Trust

Drilon revealed how he found his role as Senate President to be quite fulfilling yet challenging these past few months, especially when the pork barrel scam was uncovered.  Knowing full well how the public views the Senate and many politicians in a negative light, especially after the scam was revealed, Drilon acknowledges that it is important to regain their trust.

He understands that it will be a long process before they can fully regain confidence from the people but believes that a part of it has already been restored.  By not giving bonuses to the senators, it seems that Drilon believes it would boost the confidence they have already partially regained.

Last Year’s Exorbitant Bonuses

Aside from 22 ally senators receiving P1.6 million in bonuses and the P250,000 cash gift received by the 4 other senators, Enrile also showered his staff with huge bonuses last year.  It was later revealed that P120,000 were also given to drivers, security personnel, and the rest of the employees of the Senate.

The senator’s bonuses were first confirmed to the public by Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada.

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