The traditional sins of omission of Senate investigations “in aid of legislation” are on exhibit again this being the an election year. Politics is tough in the Philippines. It’s tough everywhere but it’s tougher here because there is no such thing as a principled stand. It is mostly the business of show as an entertainer once said about showbiz. In his PhilSTAR piece today, Boo Chanco gives space to defend Philippine Red Cross (PRC) CEO and Senator Richard Gordon in his piece “The virus is the enemy”. Gordon had recently been accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of using the PRC as a “milking cow” to fund his political ambitions. This comes as Gordon heads the Senate blue ribbon committee “investigating” the deals of the Department of Health (DOH) related to the purchase of pandemic response facilities.
If, indeed, it was proven that some people made money at the expense of the taxpayers at a time of pandemic, we have enough laws to deal with that.
It is horrible to hear Duterte calling Gordon fat and throwing out innuendoes that damage the reputation of the local Red Cross as an institution.
Gordon merely heads the Red Cross and it cannot be denied that under his watch, the institution has expanded its activities to quickly respond to the needs of our disaster-prone country.
Dick Gordon is probably the only Ateneo alumnus who wanted the Presidency so bad but couldn’t make it. Noynoy Aquino beat him to it in 2010 and all he had to show was his provenance. We all have our biases so we cheer when Gordon roasts a Yellowidiot like in the Dengvaxia hearings and then hate him with a compunction when he turns and trains his guns on the administration. The difference lies in the proof or the evidence presented. In the Dengvaxia fiasco, the dots were all connected. The same with the Janet Lim Napoles “Disbursement Allocation Program” (DAP) scam and the bribery of Senators during the impeachment trial of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona. Of course the disentes didn’t raise a howl because that would be an admission of guilt. But as we came to know about them more, we found that their hypocrisy showed no bounds. They will bend and break the Constitution to suit their needs. All in the name of “good” versus “evil”. The ends always justify the means in their book. It helps also that the propaganda arm comes out swinging with accusations and “analysis.” The Opposition has Rappler for that. Even if there is no factual basis, their “reporting” is de facto “truth” in their minds. Maria Ressa shouldn’t wonder anymore why she’s been hit with libel cases. It really is libel within the definition provided in the Revised Penal Code.
Thing here is the Senators grandstand at our expense. It’s our centavo they’re fucking around with every time they go fishing in aid of reelection or in aid election to higher office. The Commission on Audit (COA) hasn’t released a notice of disallowance for their findings with reference to the DOH audit. Why? Because they still have time to address the issues. That’s the process. It has to be followed because it is in the Audit Manual. Healthcare workers are up in arms over their delayed special risk allowance. Part of the blame is on the COA too. I’m a government consultant at present and I haven’t been paid my professional fees for three months since I started and my engagement is only for six months. Even if I complain, the bureaucracy does not move. Come September 15, it will be four months that I haven’t been paid. It makes me wonder if our Senators are so stupid that they have no idea of how the system works. But that can’t be since they’ve been in government for the longest time. It leads one to ask the question, what’s all the fuss about?
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In light of the pandemic, no one has clue about how to go about the campaign for 2022. No mass gatherings unless you can guarantee testing and proof of vaccination. So candidates have this huge headache because there won’t be much of the actual interaction with voters that happens in campaign rallies and sorties. A motorcade is the only option left unless the candidate is willing to learn to ride a motorcycle and do a tour of key cities in the country. The President has apologized to the public for his shortcomings on pandemic response yesterday. He has taken it upon himself to accept responsibility because he is the President. But he did get his licks in against the Senators. We will find out what office Gordon is aiming for by October 8 but he will most likely run for reelection to the Senate but not on the administration ticket that’s for sure.
What we should focus on is how to abolish the Senate and shift to a unicameral parliamentary system instead. The Senate is a waste of money. It makes more sense to have a parliament where the actual government is formed from its ranks. This was the original structure adopted by the Malolos Congress. It was only the Americans who rammed down this stupid bicameral legislature down our throats. It was reestablished in the 1987 Constitution as a control mechanism for the oligarchs and the political elite. The pandemic has exposed structural weaknesses in our political and economic sectors. These need to be addressed to deliver a more effective response to the disruptive nature of the pandemic. We can’t borrow our way to economic recovery. We need foreign capital to jumpstart the economy. Yet the legislature continues to sit on key legislation put forth by the Cabinet’s economic cluster. Under a parliamentary system, the Cabinet ministers are also members of parliament and they can introduce legislation that is more attuned to what the country needs. Under the present system, we’re at the mercy of roughly how many legislators, half of whom, at least, don’t know what their jobs actually are. This is why the 2022 election is crucial for our future and survival. We should elect candidates who present actual platforms with plans of action and not just the old motherhood statements.
The case is being made for Leni Robredo as the best option for 2022. If she’s the best then we’re doomed. She can’t even make a decision on whether she is running or not which highlights her lack of principle. It shows that she does not have the courage to stand by her convictions and make a stand during this crucial period in our history. There is a disconnect between her statements and her actions because she has said that the Philippines cannot afford another six years of a Duterte at the helm and, yet, she can’t make a categorical statement if she is running or not. This is not how a natural-born leader behaves. Yesterday, Erin Tañada tweeted his tweak of the Beatles classic, Let It Be, turning it into “Let Leni Be”. This does not suit Robredo. She is more of The Great Pretender.
If the Opposition can’t come up with an alternative platform and all they can do is put on a show at the Senate then they don’t deserve our vote. We should consider other options but it won’t really amount to much given the shallow talent pool. Even if Leni, Isko and Pac-Man ran together, their collective abilities still won’t amount to the point that it would make a difference.
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