August 16, 2009
Noong Agosto 4, 2009, dumalo ako sa “necrological service” para kay Pangulong Cory. Nakiisa sa maraming mga Pilipino sa pakikiramay sa kanyang pamilya sa pagpanaw niya. Noong huling dumalaw si Pangulong Cory sa Naga City para ikampanya si Cong. Noynoy para sa Senado, puno ang aming pagmamalaki sa sabay niyang pag-endorso sa amin sa lokal na halalan. Alam namin ang sukat ni Pangulong Cory. Hindi lang popularidad, hindi lang kakayahang manalo kung hindi higit sa lahat ang matapat at matuwid na paglilingkod sa mamamayan. Ito ang mga katangian ipinamalas niya ng siya ay inuloklok natin bilang Pangulo. Ito pa rin ang mga katangian at pananaw na kanyang ipinaglaban sa pangkasalukuyang panahon.
Tulad namin marami ang naghihinayang at nagdadalamhati. Nalulungkot dahil wala na ang gabay natin sa pakikibaka para maiwasto ang pulitika sa ating bansa. Bakit nga naman ngayon na muling nababalot sa krisis ang Pilipinas lumisan na siya? Hindi pa tapos ang laban Ninoy. Hindi pa tapos ang laban ni Cory. Sa ating pagdalamhati, maaring nalulungkot tayo para sa kanya o para sa ating sarili. Marami sa ating kababayan ang nagnanais na makamtan ang pagbabago subali’t ayaw niyang makilahok. Sana sa pagpanaw ni Pangulong Cory, maantig ang ating isip at damdamin at tatanggapin natin ang hamon na sinimulan ni Ninoy, pinagpatuloy ni Cory at magiging daan para sa tagumpay ng bawat mamamayang Pilipino. Hindi lamang demokrasya bilang isang paraan ng pamamahala, kung hindi higit sa lahat, demokrasya na mag-aangat ng antas ng buhay ng ordinaryong Pilipino.
Sabi nila nagbubunyi raw si Ninoy dahil kapiling na niya si Pangulong Cory. At palagay ko sa hirap at sakit na pinagdaanan ni Pangulong Cory kinuha na siya ng Panginoon para maibsan na ang hirap niya. Sana ang ating pagdalamhati sa ngayon ay mauuwi sa pagbunyi sa darating na panahon. Dahil sa pagpanaw ni Pangulong Cory muling matatagpuan natin sa ating mga sarili ang pagmamahal sa bayan, ang manindigan para sa matuwid at ang paggamit ng ating mga kapangyarihan para mabago na ang kalakaran sa ating lipunan. Ito lang ang tanging paraan para magkaroon ng saysay ang ating pagdalamhati, ang pagkamatay ni Ninoy at pagpanaw ni Cory.
Ituloy ang laban ni Ninoy at Cory!
June 8, 2009
Last June 3, 2009, Leni and I were watching over ANC the proceedings in the Lower House. It was almost midnight but the session hall was still filled with Congressmen. If not for what they were up to, they should be commended for collectively working so hard far beyond their normal hours. (Who says that attendance and securing a quorum are problems that should beset the House?) But because of what they have done, they should be condemned for shamelessly conning us by approving HR 1109, the “Con Ass Resolution”, when almost no one was looking. The timing, the method and the process speaks for itself. The open ended resolution betrayed the underlying motives.
Obviously these Congressmen can not be shaken by public opinion. From experience, they have sat on important bills, passed laws that are anti-people and railroaded proceedings, without regard on what the public will say. Time and again they have done so. But instead of being kicked out of office, they not only have been allowed to cling to their posts but in fact they have entrenched themselves and their families. They may be so unpopular nationally, but they know that in their jurisdictions they will be voted into office because of the pork they bring to their districts. For most of them, these have funded and will fund their elections. It is not surprising therefore to see some “principled” members of the House hitched on the “cha-cha train” after their share of the gravy were assured. The positions they have taken and will take are consistent with their version of the “golden rule” . . . he who has the gold rules!
When Speaker Nograles mockingly said that our people now seem to be addicted to mass actions with the planned rallies slated against HR 1109, he is simply saying that he and his cohorts can not be swayed. As far as they are concerned, as long as the constituents in their respective district votes for them, to hell with public opinion. They are not concerned with what is right or wrong. They are not interested on what the people think. They are just after the votes by foul or fair means.
In other words, it is only the language of votes that they will listen to. No morality plays or shaming execises can return them to their senses. We need to campaign to their constituents that they should not be voted to office again. Otherwise they will continue conning us. We can begin with all the institutions and organizations which denounced HR 1109. The church, business and civil society groups must learn from the lessons of the past. They must not only denounced “Con Ass”. They must also ask the members of their groups not to vote for the “Con Ass Congressmen” and likewise campaign against them. In denouncing “Con Ass”, I will tell everyone who cares to listen that we not should vote for the Congressmen who believes that they can simply get away with this again. When they seek our vote, offer us money and gifts, we do not need to refuse them. We will lull them into complacency. After conning us for a long time, it is now our turn to con them! Let us make them lose in the next elections.
February 4, 2008
Last Thursday, January 31, 2008, I was requested by the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), together with Mayor Madel Gazmen-Alfelor, to attend a forum that tackled the bill of Cong. Anne Hofer which proposed the conversion of capital towns of provinces, with no cities, to cities. In attendance for the House were Cong. Hofer, Cong. “Way Kurat” Zamora and Cong. Ong. The LCP’s position is anchored on the basic issue of equity. In 1988, with only 60 cities and 21% of the population, cities had a 23% share of the IRA. Now, with 120 cities and 37% of the population, cities’ IRA share remain at 23%. As a result of these indiscriminate conversions, the average IRA per capita in cities is now less than that of the municipalities. Congress has addressed the issue on a piecemeal basis. They passed a law prescribing more stringent requirements for conversion. Cong. Hofer’s Bill is proposing another exemption.The mandatory review of the Local Government Code (LGC) which should have been done in 1996 — is long overdue. A comprehensive study should have been conducted that would have prevented these unnecessary controversies. Cities, by the way, contribute the largest to our national income taxes which form the IRA. Cities, in fact, are subsidizing IRA shares of provinces and municipalities. While, the matter of the IRA sharing was the heart of the discussion, what struck me most was when one of the three congressmen said, that the passage of the bill in the House is almost a done deal, following the “I will scratch your back, you scratch mine” tradition in Congress. The new conversion bill might be the fourth amendment to the provisions of the LGC on the creation of cities. But it does not matter whether it’s well thought of or not. . . “I will scratch your back and you scratch mine”.
Ironically, the fate of Speaker Joe de Venecia in his bid to retain the Speakership, likewise, will be decided by the same tradition. Despite claims to the contrary, it will not be decided on a matter of principle. At the end of the day, whether it is Speaker Joe de Venecia again or Cong. Prospero Nograles, the votes will merely reflect the personal interests of the members of the House. Except for the Liberal Party, no one even ventured to at least justify their leanings by alluding to the pursuit of a higher purpose (in the best interest of the Filipino people!) in this political play. The way things are, the new “rainbow coalition” will be composed of members who were part of the failed attempt to dislodge Speaker de Venecia last year, members who hate the guts of Joey de Venecia, members who are presently at the losing end of the perks and members who will just simply follow where the direction of the wind blows. No wonder people are not hopeful! No wonder people are indifferent! Sadly, if Speaker de Venecia is replaced, it will be for the wrong reasons . . . It just so happened that the majority of the members of the House have decided that “scratching a new back will eventually remove the lingering itchiness on theirs”.
That is the House of Representatives for you!