'Mute' button for Gordon? Senators crack jokes on 'historic' videoconferencing session day
MANILA, Philippines — A senator asking in jest to permanently “mute” Senator Richard Gordon could be heard as the Senate began conducting a hybrid session on Tuesday.
Only Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Francis Tolentino were physically present when the session resumed at 3 p.m.
The majority of the senators participated in the which is now allowed under the amended rules of the chamber.
Aside from participating in plenary proceedings, the amended rules also allow senators to cast their votes and conduct committee hearings online.
Who started the joke?
Before the session, some senators could be heard greeting Sotto while others were joking about Gordon, who is known for giving lengthy speeches and interpellation.
“Mr. Majority Leader, lagyan mo ng permanent mute si Dick Gordon,” one said, drawing waves of laughter from some of their colleagues.
Riding on the joke, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri suggested that they could just turn the volume of their computer off and “do other things” when Gordon starts giving long speeches.
The Majority Leader later turned serious as he moved to proceed with the reference of the business of the chamber.
At one point during the session, Zubiri declared as successful the “historic” conduct of their teleconferencing session.
“It’s a novel way of conducting sessions in the Republic of the Philippines. This is historic, the first time in the history of our republic that we’re doing this…” he said.
“It looks very successful. So far, so good and I think even our Minority Floor Leader is no longer requesting an automatic mute button…” Zubiri added as he recognized Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
But Drilon said placing a mute button for Gordon was actually Zubiri’s idea.