By Beting Laygo Dolor
Every so often, freshman Senator Robin Padilla makes sense. Even a lot of sense.
He insists on being called Robinhood, by the way, but more on that later.
For now, I would like to give praise where praise is due.
While Padilla did make a laughing stock of himself when he said his ears were bleeding because he could not understand what his fellow senators were discussing recently, he seems to have an idea of what kind of bills he would like to sponsor.
When he was asked many moons ago why he was running for senator when he had no experience as a lawmaker, he gave a straightforward answer. He said he knew what kind of bills he would sponsor and he would hire the best lawyers to take care of the legal nitty gritty.
This is precisely what he appears to be doing.
Federalism was one cause he said he would push, but he would not be a one trick pony. As this is a most serious matter that deserves a lot of planning, the actor-turned-lawmaker is still biding his time.
I suspect he has several lawyers working on his federalism bill, which means a change in the form of government. Ergo, the people must vote on his proposal.
In the meantime, Padilla has been keeping busy.
In recent weeks, he got approving nods from various sectors for his stand on a number of issues which had no relationship to each other.
For one, he said he wanted all government documents to be made available in the national language.
He may have gone a little overboard when he said that the country should stop using English in all legal documents. But if he means that Pilipino should be given the respect it’s been losing, then he is right.
He only needs to tweak his proposal, by making mandatory the use of both English and Pilipino in all forms of communication.
A good number of countries do this, and perhaps our national language has not been getting its due because it is not properly taught, and used, anymore.
Nationalists were applauding his proposal because they know that it’s one sure way of revitalizing Pilipino.
I would, however, like to see all Filipinos become bi-lingual, adept at our national language, as well as the global language of business that is English.
(And no, I will not get into the debate in the British form of English vs the international form, which could be called Americanese as far as I’m concerned. The Brits insist that theirs is the only real form, which is why it’s called English.)
Padilla also said that he was in favor of legalizing marijuana. He said everyone knows the medical benefits of the plant, but for some reason or another similar proposals have failed to even go beyond committee level in our bicameral Congress.
With so many states in the US along with numerous European countries already legalizing weed for both medicinal and recreational purposes, why not the Philippines?
In fact, a close neighbor of the country, Thailand, very recently lifted all restrictions on the possession and sale of the wonder plant that a new industry has cropped up in recent weeks.
Fears that countless Filipinos would suddenly turn into marijuana addicts have been used to prevent its legalization, which is completely dumb as there’s no such thing as marijuana addicts. It’s not addictive, ladies and gentlemen, although it could be habit forming. Like coffee.
What is marijuana after all but a plant that exists in nature? I do not jest when I say God made it, and He made it for a good reason. It makes its users feel good and happy, and what is wrong with that?
The senator also wants to put up an Alcatraz-style facility for hardened criminals, who would then have no access to lawbreakers convicted of lesser crimes.
Corregidor would be ideal, but for its historical value and the fact that it’s also a popular tourist destination. But an island that is isolated can be the ideal place for hopelessly violent criminals to spend the rest of their days in peace once they know that there’s no chance of escape.
Padilla even wants one such facility each in Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
Maybe an island or islet in the Spratlys would be a good place to set up such a facility, no?
Lastly, Padilla also leans towards legalizing divorce in the country, and this is the most sensible proposal to come from him yet.
Jeez, folks, please be informed that all the countries of the world allow divorce based on a number of rational conditions. Only two countries in the planet do not have divorce. One of those countries is The Vatican. And the other? Yes, you guessed it. Our very own Republic of the Philippines.
I know of a lot of couples whose marriages were no longer feasible, so they did what normal men and women do in the absence of divorce. They find new partners and to hell with the law.
There are literally tens of thousands of couples who are openly “living in sin” in the eyes of the Church but who are otherwise decent human beings whose only wish is to find some happiness for themselves.
Divorce is the humane way for them to escape what are normally hellish relationships with the spouses they mistakenly married in their youth, isn’t it?
Ask Imee Marcos.
On second thought, don’t.
So what else does Senator Robin Padilla have in mind? I don’t know, but one thing I do know is this: he really, really wants to be called Robinhood Padilla after becoming senator, and I’m not biting. I will still refer to him as Robin, and if he doesn’t like it, I may end up calling him Rob instead.
I do not mean to disrespect him, as I would not discount the possibility of him becoming a lawmaker who uses common sense when others offer nothing but hot air.
There’s a little bit of the kanto boy in him, not unlike Rodrigo Duterte. But at least Padilla is no cold-blooded killer.
Under a best-case scenario, Senator Padilla may yet end up as being the Filipino Everyman, maybe not that intelligent, but certainly full of smarts.
Let us see how he evolves as a senator, shall we?