House Of Shameful Representatives gang rapes the Philippines and democracy with Con-Ass HR 1109
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:16:00 06/04/2009
For the second time in less than three years, the House of Representatives has passed a legislative measure to convene itself—without the institutional participation of the Senate—as a constituent assembly. The near-midnight vote last Tuesday was similar to the extenuated voting that ended in the early morning of Dec. 7, 2006: a shameless railroading of an unconstitutional, anti-democratic measure, designed only to extend the Arroyo administration’s hold on power.
We join all Filipinos in condemning this immoral act, this betrayal of the nation’s highest interests in exchange (as came to light after the first time) for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.
Nothing in House Resolution 1109 could be said to serve the common good. With only three days left in the Second Session of the 14th Congress, other, much more important bills were still pending congressional action: the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the passage of the reproductive health bill, legislation to soften the impact of the global economic crisis.
To prioritize HR 1109 over all other matters, simply because the majority could, was to place the administration’s own interests ahead of the nation’s. To pass HR 1109, simply because the majority could, was to place the welfare of the administration and its allies over the integrity of the Constitution.
Explaining his objection on the House floor, Nueva Ecija Rep. Eduardo Nonato Joson offered a vivid image that summed up public opinion about the ramming-through of the Con-Ass resolution. “Let us not gang-rape our Constitution,” he said.
Without a doubt, the lecherous chief of the gang of rapists was Speaker Prospero Nograles. No major congressional decision like Tuesday night’s vote could have been reached without the say-so of the Speaker—that is the nature of the House. But he took his marching orders from the real mastermind of this horrific assault on the body politic: President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself.
Nograles hinted as much. “The leaders of Lakas and Kampi decided in that meeting [the official merger of the two parties the President controls] that this is one of the things that we will push for. I will not deny that she [the President] was present when we decided on that, but she did not say anything,” Nograles said. But even Nograles must remember from his days when he served the law as an idealistic lawyer, that silence also means consent.
The gang rape was especially violent the second time around; the administration coalition in the House severely limited the period of interpellation and then, after a bizarre motion by nominally oppositionist Rep. Didagen Dilangalen to end the debate, limited the period some more and forced the vote. (Dilangalen has tried to stifle debate in the House before, under a different president, but by similar means: he tried to rip out the sound system.) Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla decried the rush, and called “this Congress the worst in the annals of history.”
It will be hard to argue with that judgment.