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Daily Archives: July 31, 2019

No Ilonggo lawmaker is ‘pipitsugin’

“As lawmakers, our job is to listen to our constituents. If our phones are ringing off the hook with people demanding to know where we stand on an issue, we pay attention.” 

–Chris Murphy

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

NO historian will write about an Ilonggo lawmaker who is “NPA” or “non-performing asset” in both the Lower and Upper chambers of Philippine Congress.
No chronicler of the past will claim that legislators from the south are “no talk and, therefore, no utok (to borrow the late Senator Roding Ganzon’s bombshells).”
Almost all senators and representatives with Ilonggo blood running in their veins have given the country tremendous glory and prestige since the pre-war era, and the list of these outstanding lawmakers from the Western Visayas is expanding every election year.
When they are in the rostrum, Ilonggo lawmakers will make sure the words that come out from their mouths aren’t non-sense or will become the sources of humiliation for their heritage and culture.
This could only mean one thing: we have quality leaders and quality voters to boot.
One of the remaining few titanic voices in the Senate today is Senator Franklin Drilon from Molo, Iloilo City.

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The former Senate President made many Ilonggos proud of him when he recently schooled on the basics of parliamentary interpellation neophyte but aggressive Senator Francis Tolentino of Cavite, who probably wanted to impress the nation when he introduced some “novel legal theories” in his recent inaugural privilege speech.
Tolentino, a lawyer like Drilon, must’ve underestimated his colleagues’ capacity to think when he asserted that President Rodrigo Duterte’s oral agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping, allowing China to fish in Philippine waters, was valid and legally binding.
“There is no restriction on either the form or substance of international agreements,” Tolentino.
Drilon thundered: “Many of these I have heard for the first time. These theories, however, in our view, are not settled.”
The Ilonggo Senate Minority Leader, who believes that the best avenue to test the validity of such “novel theories” is through a committee hearing and not on the floor, added: “I am prepared to debate on the propositions here and now, but we do not claim to have a monopoly of legal knowledge. That’s why we qualify and deny the attribution that we are a legal luminary.”

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We saw how greenhorn Tolentino capitulated after Drilon’s barrage of snipes when Tolentino asserted: “There is no restriction on either the form or substance of international agreements.”
Drilon parried Tolentino’s theory: “Following this proposition, can the President of the Republic enter into an oral or even a written agreement ceding the island of Panay, even if it is contrary to Article I of our Constitution on national territory?”
Drilon pumped more bullets: “If there is no restriction as to form, can multilateral agreements be in the form of an oral agreement? I cannot imagine the difficulty of enforcing a verbal multilateral agreement. Can we enter into an agreement that is in conflict with the Constitution, despite the latter being an internal law of fundamental importance if we say there’s no restriction as to the substance of the verbal agreement?”

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Drilon showed all and sundry you don’t parade a shallow intellectual stunt in the presence of sharp-witted and sagacious legislators especially if you are beginning to make a name for yourself before a “live” session aired worldwide.
It was fine if Tolentino’s interpellators were, with due respect, the honorable Senators Lito Lapid, Manny Pacquiao, Bong Revilla, Bong Go, and Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
Not Drilon. Not Sen. Ralph Recto and other remaining sensible senators today.
And certainly not another Ilonggo intellectual behemoth, the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
We missed the best woman President the Philippines never had, especially when she unmasked the charlatans, head-butt the idiots, and clobbered the ninny lobcocks in a tension-filled privilege speech and nerve-biting but hilarious Senate committee hearings.
Tolentino and the pack of intellectual peacocks and rattlesnakes now occupying the Senate are lucky Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a true-blue Ilongga darling of the masa and a fire-spewing legal and constitutional authority, was no longer around.
Erap once quipped: “Pupulutin kayo sa kangkongan.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Morally sick

“Gambling can turn into a dangerous two-way street when you least expect it. Weird things happen suddenly, and your life can go all to pieces.” 

–Hunter S. Thompson

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

NONE of our Ilonggo legislators were among the contenders for major posts when the administration lap puppies led by recently installed House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano divided the “kingdoms” of the House of Representatives the way the generals of Alexander the Great divided his kingdoms after his death.
Even in the scandalous “term-sharing” agreement, Cayetano and his fellow eager-beaver solons who desire power and positions in the Lower House like David desired Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, limited the choices for themselves alone.
Because they eat alone, time will come they will also fight alone.
For the meantime, even if they don’t hold key positions in the hierarchy of the House of Representatives, the Ilonggo congresspeople, all age below 50, will see to it that they will abscond or avoid any membership in the committee on silence.
Let’s watch them as they trail-blaze their way to quality legislation.

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If the gaming operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) weren’t ordered temporarily suspended (only lotto has been restored as of this writing) recently, many of us wouldn’t have been exposed as morally sick.
The suspension was treated by most gambling-crazed Filipinos as like a national tragedy; like they lost a prime property to a hurricane; or they weren’t able to withdraw a single centavo before the rural bank, where they saved all their money, declared bankruptcy.
For some it was like a matter of life and death.
Give us gambling or give us death.
It exposed a grim reality that without organized gambling, many Filipinos can’t go on with a normal life; they can’t function effectively as normal social beings.
For some whose main livelihood and day-to-day existence are 100 percent reliant to the PCSO gaming schemes, it was like a sudden death from a thousand cuts.

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It demonstrated the fact that many Filipinos exist on a game of chance; that if the government or any higher authority will permanently clamp down on both legal and illegal gambling in the country, life will also abruptly end for many gamblers and gambling operators.
We teach our children the basic Christian virtues and the values of hard work, sacrifice, fair play, simple living; yet, many of us openly pay homage to gambling and treat it as a be-all and end-all of how to survive and exist in this world.
The situation becomes more alarming when public officials like Health Secretary Francisco Duque III go on a rampage if gambling operations are stopped.
“They have to be imaginative on where to get the funds. The PCSO funding is huge and can render anemic the capacity of the Malasakit centers to be able to maximize support to poor patients,” Duque said. “The shortfall must be filled.”
The likes of Duque believe that gambling, as the chief source of funds to help defray the expenses for social assistance, is omnipotent.

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We are glad that the name of the new Iloilo City grandstand now located in Muelle Loney, City Proper is now back as “Iloilo City Freedom Grandstand” by virtue of an executive order issued by Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas.
Many Ilonggos sobbed when Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III renamed it to “Iloilo City Dinagyang Grandstand” last year.
It added insult to the grandstand’s injury after it was demolished and uprooted from its original territory on J.M. Basa Street in Aduana last year and transferred to its new location.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2019 in Uncategorized