While we consider constitutional changes to the form of our legislature (and I won't argue the rightness or wrongness of cha-cha and con-ass), may I suggest some critical design and spatial changes, too?
- Change the chairs used by senators and congressmen
- Change the tables
- Change the location of the legislature
Those chairs are large, comfortable and they recline and swivel. Check out the Bundestag, chairs are close together and they can't swivel all the way around. The Canadian Parliament like UK's House of Commons don't even have chairs or tables. The legislators sit on benches.
Why should legislators have chairs that are NOT comfortable and don't recline or swivel? Or have large tables?
It's easier to fall asleep in a comfortable reclining chair -hence those classic shots of privilege speeches with senators sleeping in the background. A swivelling chair makes it easy to turn around and have an on the floor caucus. -- Both indulgences allow a legislator to not listen to the business at hand. It may seem trivial but that means the real "business" of the senate and congress goes on outside the legislative floor -where points are clarified and deals are made. The floor is all just for show.
Large tables makes it easy to bring papers to work on or read while at the session floor distracting from what should be a debate about the items on the agenda. Again, this means the deals are done off the floor.
The Congress and the Philippine Senate are in hard to access areas -away from the business and commercial centers and away from main roads. This reduces the chances of ordinary citizens coming in to watch the proceedings and take part in the process. Apart from during major events like the SONA, the only people who will go out of their way to go to the Senate or Congress are people with vested interests -i.e. lobbyists.
If I had my druthers, I'd ask Ayala Land to donate part of Fort Bonifacio (in a very accessible area) for a new legislative building -that can be designed via a competition -and with citizen input.