(Updated 2:19 p.m.) Some online users reminded neophyte senator-elect Robin Padilla that the English language can be used for official purposes after he said he only wants to engage in debate at the Senate using the Filipino language.
The 52-year-old self-proclaimed “summa cum laude of cutting classes” and incoming Senate newbie said this remark on Tuesday, June 14, when reporters asked about his preparedness to debate on the plenary floor once the 19th Congress opens next month.
“Una, hindi naman Amerikano mga kaharap ko para mag-English ako. Siguro kung Amerikano, well, I’m willing to debate,” he said.
He also said he has been taking English lessons with his two and four-year-old kids.
A Twitter user informed Padilla of the usage of the Filipino and English languages.
“FYI Robin: English is also an official language of the Philippines. Promulgation of the Constitution shall also be in Filipino and English. These are in the Constitution. It [is] also not just Americans who speak English – many other nations do. Wag na magpalusot,” the online user said.
Article 14 Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution mentioned Filipino and English as the country’s official languages. There is a preference for the usage of the English language in congressional sessions and debates, but legislators also utilize a mix of both languages.
Quoting on a news report another Twitter user was unsurprised by this remark of Padilla.
“Oh please, stop interrupting my laundry chore. Tell us something we don’t know,” he said.
Others agreed with Padilla and said the citizens must just let him speak in Filipino.
“Why insist on the language? If he wants to talk in Tagalog, let him do so. Why try to impose something that is not important? There are so many other important issues to crack their heads on. Just use any language you want,” a Twitter user said.
In 2018, Padilla is remembered to pressure a foreign contestant to speak in Filipino on the show “Pilipinas Got Talent.”
Another Twitter user who opposed Padilla’s remark described the incoming senator as “a walking embarrassment for the highest legislative body in the country.”
“Imagine dissing the use of formal English sa proceedings? Proud pa na ‘summa cum laude of cutting classes’ and that ‘debates with his wife’ prepared him for the senate?” the user said.
“Nakakahiya naman sa mga nag-aral at nagpakadalubhasa sa batas ng ilang dekada tapos ganito lang senador niyo?” he added.
Another Twitter user meanwhile, said he is looking forward to seeing Padilla and Sen. Lito Lapid interpolating on the Senate floor. Both Padilla and Lapid were former actors starring in action movies.
Padilla’s second child to actress Mariel Rodriguez was born in the United States in 2019, thus making their child a citizen of the English-speaking country. His son in the same year, got married in Australia, a former colony of the British empire, which is also an English-speaking country.
Debate with wife
Padilla also said that his banters and arguments with his wife prepared him to participate in the upcoming debates on the plenary floor.
“If only they would let me assume office now, I am ready. I am used to having debates every day, only it’s with my wife,” Padilla told the reporters on Tuesday.
Twitter users also expressed their frustrations over the remarks of Padilla. One said it is “invalidating” as if the qualifications are not even the bare minimum.
“Most of us here are in our 20s studying for a degree. Then there [is] Robin Padilla, who believes he [is] qualified for a seat in the senate because he debates with his wife,” a user said.
“Robin Padilla just proved me that I was right when I decided to not vote him for senator,” another Twitter user said.
Padilla, who does not have a law degree, currently desires to sit in the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, a committee that is usually led by a lawyer. He is poised to replace Sen. Francis Pangilinan on the committee.
“I do not understand those people who are praising Robin Padilla for trying hard to fulfill his duty as a senator and a chairman of Constitutional Amendments?” a Twitter user said.
“I mean, Isn’t he what he applied for? Why are we praising him for preparing late?” she added.
Padilla garnered 26.5 million votes making him the leading senatorial candidate during the 2022 national elections.