Candid moment between lawmakers during House session draws eyes

September 2, 2022 - 3:17 PM

(Updated; Sept. 2, 4:22 p.m.)  The interaction of two neophyte lawmakers during a plenary session at the House of Representatives on Wednesday earned the attention of the local online community.

Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Aniela Tolentino (Cavite, Eighth District) was spotted playfully interacting with Senior Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sandro Marcos (Ilocos Norte, First District) while making a motion on the floor.

Tolentino was reading the House’s Order of Business with the presidential son beside her when she made a pronunciation mistake.

Marcos, whose back was turned to the camera, was apparently chuckling or teasing her for the slip.

She then laughed, slapped Marcos’ arm and briefly made a gesture at him before resuming her work.

Marcos, grinning, also stepped back from the podium following the gesture but immediately resumed his position afterward.

The moment could be viewed in a livestream uploaded by the Lower House on its Facebook page on August 31.

Tolentino starts to speak at the 52:32 timestamp of the video. The particular incident with Marcos could be seen beginning at the 53:56 timestamp.

A portion of this was also uploaded on TikTok, where it has reached around 1.8 million views, 98,500 heart reactions and almost 600 comments so far.

@trixie_torikushii Replying to @dane.lz ayan na poh!🥰 sorry kelangan ecut yung video kase sobrang haba.😉 #sandromarcos7 #anielayolentino #houseofrepresentatives #replytocomments #tiktok #shadowbanned #fypシ゚viral #fyp ♬ original sound – Trixie Torikushii

The clip has reached other social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, with some expressing amusement at the candid moment between the two lawmakers.

“Ang saya makita, nakaka-fresh sa mata, may mga bagets na lawmaker. Sana mas marami pa silang magawang mabuti sa Pinas,” a TikTok user commented.

“That’s great! Being in the Congress is not boring… I’m not goin’ to [be] absent,” another TikTok user said with a laughing-with-tears emoji.

“That was so cute, it looks like they [are enjoying]. [They’re] doing well and that was good vibes,” wrote a different user.

However, there were others who called on the lawmakers to be more conscious of their behavior in the Plenary Hall.

“If this were at my chambers, I bashed the gavel and shouted at their face for not respecting the sanctity of parliament. MOC’s [Members of Congress] must always uphold the highest standard to be proper as time is not a luxury (for personal chikas) in legislation,” a Twitter user commented.

“HABSHAHAH p*** ang unprofessional, anyare sa Congress decorum (loudly crying face emoji). Paying taxes for unserious legislature, only in PH,” another online user tweeted.

Not the first time

Columnist and former Malacañang official Manuel Quezon III cited that there were other instances of lawmakers “behaving badly” in the past, such as late former house speaker Jose Laurel Jr. showing up drunk in “one late-night session” and late former house speaker Manuel Roxas being kicked “in the shins.”

“Unless you’re a saint, chances are every one of you watching this, has behaved badly sometime in the past. Assistant Secretary Banaag advises all of us to remember our elected leaders aren’t priests or saints, after all. This is true. Maybe she should have added something else,” he wrote in a 2017 piece, referring to former PCOO assistant secretary Ana Marie Banaag.

“Not all of us who’ve made mistakes have bodyguards, either. Which, at the end of the day, is why congressmen can behave badly, and the rest of the country can’t. It’s the luck of the draw, after all,” Quezon added.

Lawmakers, being public officials, are expected to conduct their duties in the office with professionalism.

This is stated in the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, also known as Republic Act 6713.

The code enumerates the “Norms of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees” under Section 4, which includes “professionalism” as one of the expected traits. Its particular provision reads:

Public officials and employees shall perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill. They shall enter public service with utmost devotion and dedication to duty. They shall endeavor to discourage wrong perceptions of their roles as dispensers or peddlers of undue patronage.