MANILA -- Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday defended the Senate anew against the attacks of House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez calling Senate a “slow” Congress for failing to act on measures the House of Representatives had already passed, particularly the death penalty bill.

Drilon explained that the Senate is part of the check and balance system within the legislature; in such a way that the Senate may not agree with the House of Representatives and vice versa.

“For example, the death penalty bill which Speaker Alvarez says we are not taking action on, the reason of senators is because they are not in favor of death penalty,” Drilon told reporters.

“Why should we be criticized for not passing that?” he added noting that they were elected to make a judgment whether or not a particular law should be passed.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III earlier said that the Senate remains divided on the proposal to reimpose the capital punishment.

Drilon also pointed out that the committees in the Senate are controlled by the majority and that the majority has not included death penalty as part of the legislative agenda.

He explained that the Senate leadership even had regular meetings to agree on a legislative agenda where death penalty bill was not included.

“The restoration of the death penalty is not part of our legislative agenda,” Drilon said.

However, he said that not prioritizing the death penalty did not mean that they were sitting on the job.

“Our records will show that 413 bills were referred to the Senate by the House in this present Congress. We have acted and approved 116 of them or about 28 percent, so it is not true that we are sitting on these bills,” he added. (PNA)