AS our congressmen tried to extract and savor every lurid detail of Sen. Leila de Lima’s extramarital exploits, without any regard for the last shred of her woman’s dignity as well as their own, I had to ask myself what happened to our country and to the Congress. As the inquiry (“in aid of legislation”) was on the alleged illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons when De Lima was still Secretary of Justice, I expected a little more focus. But the questions had nothing to do with drugs, only with De Lima’s steamy relationship with her alleged driver-security-boyfriend. The questions and those asking them all looked like they were coming from the most rotten sewer in the deepest parts of the underworld. I began to understand why when baboons congregate, they call it a congress.
This was the same House I knew before it became the House of Reprehensibles. It now intends to railroad the death penalty this December; lower the age of criminal responsibility among children, from the present 15 years to nine; limit to three the maximum number of children a married couple can have; fast-track all the so-called sexual orientation and gender identity bills from the foreign LGBT lobby; and, in the name of an inverted federalism, ram through the balkanization of our unitary Republic. “Power-mad” is not an adequate word for it.
The congressmen seem committed to shame a member of another House who has dared to raise some questions about the past activities of President Duterte when he was still mayor of Davao City. She has many political sins to atone for—against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whom she had whimsically stopped from leaving the country to get much-needed medical attention abroad, and against the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona before his removal—and, yes, her private life is no cleaner than a coal miner’s fingernails.
Even the most venal deserve some respect
But like every other flawed human being, she is entitled to some respect; as an elected senator, she deserves a modicum of parliamentary courtesy. These she did not get at the hearing. This is the first time in our bicameral Congress that a member of one House is being investigated by members of the other House, solely to please the Chief Executive. The precedent runs counter to the best examples we read in history books.
On January 4, 1642, King Charles I of England, accompanied by his soldiers, entered the English House of Commons and sat on the Speaker’s chair to demand the surrender of five members whom he had accused of treason. Not seeing them inside the hall, the King said, “I see the birds have flown,” and asked the Speaker to produce them. To this, the Speaker replied: “May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here.”
In De Lima’s case, the House has shown no reservation in trying to deliver her, bound and gagged, as it were, to Malacañang. The voyeurs in the House have also become the lynch mob.
If she’s immoral, is DU30 okay?
Given DU30’s proud and publicly applauded boast about his own sexual exploits, can his lackeys in Congress condemn De Lima for her admitted “frailties,” by turning their drug inquiry into a grand inquisition against her private conduct, without also sending a similar message to DU30. This could be lese majeste as far as the President is concerned, but it is exactly what the congressmen have done. Can they threaten De Lima with disbarment for immorality without challenging her camp to seek the President’s disbarment also, on the same ground? Presidential immunity may not be able to shield him from this.
This is not to suggest that the government should ignore whatever crimes De Lima has committed; it is merely to say that DU30’s enforcers while going after De Lima should observe the basic parliamentary rules and save the public from excessive improprieties. Disbar De Lima, if you like; charge her in court for any illegal drug involvement; run her out of the Senate, if you can; but in God’s name, spare us, especially the youth, from so much moral squalor and filth.
After De Lima, the death agenda follows
The De Lima inquiry—whatever its merits—is but a dry run. If Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez gets away with it, then all the other parliamentary atrocities will follow. The death penalty will be steam-rolled, without debate. Right now, we have a de facto death sentence imposed without due process on suspected drug dealers by the police and so-called vigilantes. Since July 1, they have already killed close to 5,000 suspects, while reportedly resisting arrest. This number includes Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, who was killed at four o’clock in the morning inside his prison cell in Baybay City by a group of policemen who had motored from Tacloban allegedly to serve the inmate a search warrant.
DU30 might agree that the death sentence is not necessarily a deterrent, but he believes it exacts retribution and vengeance, under the principle of lex talionis—the law of the talion—or an eye for an eye. And that’s what he wants. Under this law, killing a person who has killed upholds the principle of mathematical equivalence. In a number of cases, though, certain individuals who had been sentenced to death were later on found to be innocent—some of them after they had been executed. And the death sentence, once carried out, can no longer be revoked.
In any case, until President Arroyo abolished the death penalty in 2006, all convicts on death row, except for those who had been convicted of the gang rape of Maggie de la Riva, were wretchedly poor. This raised the obvious question: are the poor the only ones capable of committing capital crimes? Or are they the only ones convicted because they are the only ones who could not avoid being arrested, who could not afford good lawyers, or who could not afford to bribe judges? The empirical data seems to support the thrust of the question.
Killing more of the poor
The passage of the death penalty law will merely kill more of the poor whom DU30 has promised to protect. This is already happening in the war on drugs, where “majority of the victims are the very same poor whose lives you promised to protect and alleviate from the shackles of abject poverty,” said an open letter signed by Bishop Joel Baylon, D.D., of Legazpi on behalf of the clergy, religious and lay leaders of his diocese.
After the death penalty, the House intends to lower the age of criminal liability for minors from 15 to nine. This is reportedly because in many robberies, children caught by the police could not be prosecuted because they carry birth certificates showing they are underage. This obviously shows the children are being used by criminal syndicates. So the solution should be to go after the syndicates. But the congressmen would rather bring down the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9. This is absolutely harebrained, without any moral or scientific basis.
On with its death agenda, the House intends to impose the three-children per family limit as its primary measure to stimulate economic growth. This is a measure that has failed. All countries that had adopted population control in the past are now paying for the price for it, in terms of a demographic deficit; the only ones who are insisting on it are the imperialist powers that continue to believe their only way to remain dominant is to control the technology, international finance, the use of resources, and the number of the world’s “useless eaters.”
The SOGI madness and the federalist humbug
The whole bunch of SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) bills are all in support of population control. They are intended to make the complementarity of man and woman, marriage, and childbearing obsolete, pursuant to the pipe dream of some members of the British aristocracy to reduce the world’s population to one billion people, and below. This is what DU30’s new hero—President Vladimir Putin—is at war against, and the US president-elect Donald Trump, is likely to oppose. If DU30 could copy this from his new heroes, he need not copy anything else.
His Congress lackeys must now change course.
Finally, there is the federalist idea. The proposal is fundamentally flawed. Federalism is an organizing principle for autonomous or independent units that need to coalesce into one distinct whole rather than for one distinct whole to subdivide into several autonomous units. The objective of the various parts is to create a federal union, rather than for the equivalent of a federal union to break up into independent parts. As Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano warns, if you break up the nation into several parts, you can’t say how long it will take to bring back the “one nation” all over again.
The federalist idea deserves deeper study, at the very least. But Alvarez seems hostile to the idea of studying anything in depth, and would simply jump because DU30 has commanded it. Der Fuhrer hat das Recht gesetzt—“the Fuhrer has laid down the law,” as the Nazis used to say; the Speaker’s only duty is to follow. He will not even be bothered by the express provision of the Constitution which assigns no role to the President in proposing any amendment to or revision of the Constitution. This right is vested in the Congress and the people alone, and by Congress the Constitution means an elected legislature which functions according to the will of the electorate, rather than according to the President’s diktat.
Under Alvarez, the House may have disqualified itself from making any laws. His luck is that Oliver Cromwell has not been reincarnated in his demigod. But given the present wreck of the Congress, DU30 may still have to consider adopting as his own Cromwell’s words to the Rump Parliament in London on April 20, 1653:
“It is high time to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtues and defiled by your practice of every vice.
“You are a factious crew and enemy to all good government.
“You are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Essau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
“Is there a single virtue now remaining among you? Is there one vice you do not possess?
“You have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which among you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man among you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
“You sordid prostitutes, have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?
“You are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.
“Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House, and which by God’s help, and through the strength he has given me, I must now come to do.
“I command you, therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place. Go, get out! Make haste! You venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there and lock up the doors.
“In the name of God, go!”