MANILA -- House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s criticism against the Senate is not meant to weaken and abolish the upper chamber, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said Monday.

Pimentel made this remark after colleague Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday raised fears that Alvarez was attacking the Senate to weaken and abolish the upper chamber.

“I don’t think that is the objective of the speaker,” Pimentel told reporters in an interview noting that he wondered what Drilon’s objective was for making his statement.

“’Kala ko matibay kami, biglang weaken sa statement ni Speaker? Wala lang po ‘yun (I thought we were a strong chamber then it would suddenly weaken because of the statement of the House Speaker? That’s nothing),” he added.

He shrugged off Alvarez’s attacks against the Senate being a “slow” Congress saying it was merely his right to “free expression.”

It may be recalled that Alvarez has repeatedly pressured the Senate into passing the death penalty bill. However, the Senate has yet to tackle the measure in a plenary session.

Moreover, Pimentel said that it was not the obligation of the Senate to pass all measures already passed by the House of Representatives but entertain the local bills coming from the lower chamber.

He said that the minimum obligation of each chamber is to pay attention to what the other chamber has passed.

The Senate President, meanwhile, said that it is already common for the public to find the law-making process in the country, not just in the Senate but also in the House, as “slow.”

Harapin na lang natin ang katotohanan may nababagalan sa law-making process ng Pilipinas, hindi lang Senate kundi House (Let’s face the truth that the law-making process in the Philippines is slow, not just in the Senate but also in the House),” Pimentel said.

He also told reporters that Alvarez’s statements were not an issue.

“We are looking at one statement of the Speaker, papalakihin ba natin para lang magka-issue tayo (would we make a big deal out of it just so that we have an issue)?” he added. (PNA)