Quo vadis administration congressmen PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:13

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

Many members of Congress who may have good intentions as legislators are now in a quandary for reasons of choice. It is a choice on whether to follow their conscience or to repay gratitude and ultimately stay in power.    The right to choose which is the basic right of a freeman is set aside in favor of personal interest wrapped in a guise of teamwork. This has been displayed during the recent balloting in the committee level for the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). At the early stage of the BBL’s discussion in Congress, both administration and opposition lawmakers expressed disgust on the many unconstitutional provisions of the BBL. Many lawmakers even publicly expressed their disapproval of the BBL during interviews. The issue of discontent went even futher after the fateful “Mamasapano” incident, during which many lawmakers disbelievingly displayed raw bravado, even displaying party belligerence and disappointing their benefactor. It made heroes of many lawmakers, making it appear publicly that the framers of the BBL to include the President of the Republic were villains. Lawmakers even broke the composure of highly disciplined PNP generals into tears and drop the public approval ratings of the President but at the same time raise the public ratings of many inefficient lawmakers for assuming a role as public defenders.

As of this writing, the balloting for the approval of BBL in the committee level is still ongoing, but at the rate committee chairman Congressman Rufus Rodriguez as presiding officer is acting, the BBL is a done deal.    Zambonga City’s District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat, is the only one left consistent in his view against the BBL. Most of his friends and allies in Congress, turned “cold feet” after they were called for a conference by the President in Palace.

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It is premature to believe that something uncommon happened during this Palace conference that made some lawmakers change their views on the BBL. For the good or for the worse of the country is not now important to the many “gadfly” in Congress, because the leadership has achieved its goal of legacy, whatever the cost maybe. Legacy after the President’s term in 2016 is the total lasting and true peace in Mindanao, a quest of the Philippine Government since independence in 1946. Peaceful solutions, peace dialogues, secret meetings for peace, backdoor diplomacy, goodwill visits, sincerity, etc. etc., have been an overused action by the Philippine Government. However, if the rebel groups continue to adopt belligerence, continue to recruit new cadres, continue to hold on to their firearms and ammunition, rebel factions by disgruntled members, peace is farfetched and may not be achieved totally even with a good Constitutional Law. President’s Noynoy Aquino’s quest for a legacy of peace may backfire for as long as there are “gadflys” and “butterflies” in Congress.

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During the other day’s balloting for the approval of the BBL in the committee level of Congress, the public can be witness to the actuations of many administration lawmakers. Whenever Zamboanga City’s District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat, a pure and consistent opposition against the BBL pushes for an amendment to be in line with the clamor of Mindanao’s majority people, it was voted down outrightly 10 to 1. Those who voted against Lobregat’s proposed amendment can be seen grinning and raising their hands of disapproval, as if showing the Palace that they obeyed orders loyally, like “lapdogs” anxious for a candy. What is worse, even the people’s champ Manny Pacquiao who does not attend committee hearings normally and a resident of Gensan and Sarangani in Mindanao right at the heart of the Bangsamoro territory, voted against proposals of Lobregat that should have a “check process” on the onerous side of the BBL. Indeed the “Pambansang Kamao” is actually “pambansang dili kamao”. Now a billionaire, he wants to be senator of the country.

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Scoop: Voters in 2016 must choose the right candidates and stop selling your freedom of choice, only the Filipino people can change this country and not the government. There are many angels in wolfskin in Congress. Never try to play with wolves, you might end up in its stomach.