Majority of the members of the Commission on Appointments from the House gave priority to attending a ceremonial submission of a bill in Malacañang over attending a confirmation hearing of diplomats by the CA’s Committee on Foreign Affairs headed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago last Wednesday.
These congressmen obviously wanted to be seen by President BS Aquino in Malacañang when he submitted the bill on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress Wednesday morning. That the submission of the bill had to be done in Malacañang reflects the legislator’s subservience to the executive department and the President’s contempt for their supposed independence. The congressmen should have received the draft measure in their own turf.
The National Expenditure Program or the President’s budget is always submitted to the House. No congressional leader ever goes to Malacañang to receive the proposed budget, so why did they make a pilgrimage to the Palace just to receive a bill less important than the budget? I can understand the presence of senators and congressmen if the Malacañang ceremony involved the signing of a bicameral conference committee report, but this was not the case.
At the ceremonial turnover of the draft BBL, the legislators were mere spectators and clappers, which they chose to be rather than perform their work at a constitutional bicameral body. The congressmen-members of the CA in particular must have been so enthusiastic in clapping and clapping after every utterance by the President that they failed to attend the confirmation hearing at the Senate of numerous diplomats.
Senator Miriam was prepared to preside over the confirmation hearing at 11am as scheduled when Rep. Rodolfo Farinas of Ilocos Norte, an ex-officio member of the committee, asked her to wait for congressmen who were still in Malacañang. Couldn’t she wait until the congressmen were done clapping and applauding the President? Surely, the CA committee and the 50 nominees of the Department of Foreign Affairs would understand that paying obeisance to the President is of higher priority to congressmen who adhere to his “tuwid na daan” than working and using their brains.
When she appeared bent on going ahead with the confirmation hearing, Farinas questioned the quorum. This precipitated the outburst of her famous mercurial temper and walked out. I think that’s the first time a committee chairman had ever walked out of his or her own hearing. She said Farinas was using the CA rule on committee meetings while the more appropriate rule was that on hearings where the chairman’s presence is sufficient to constitute a quorum.
Senator Miriam cooled down later and wrote a conciliatory letter to Farinas. Nevertheless, the incident wouldn’t have happened if only majority of the committee members from the House had attended to their duties at the bicameral body rather than to bootlicking at the Palace.
While we’re with the lady senator, she also believes that Vice President Jejomar Binay should answer questions about the alleged overpriced Makati city hall building rather than dismiss it as “politically motivated.”
Sen. Nancy Binay, the Veep’s daughter was quoted as saying she felt sad that while her father was merely out to serve the country, some people were trying to pull him down. So, since the Veep merely wants to be of service to the people, he should no longer answer nagging questions about the costing of the Makati government building? Is a front-runner for the presidency exempted from explaining to the people a questioned deal?
The Binays and their supporters—and they are legions—would help their cause better by defending their assertion that the Makati building is expensive because it is world class and green. If they can show that it’s really worth the P2.25 billion spent for its construction, then they have successfully rebutted charged that the Veep got a 13-percent kickback out of the building contract and that the bidding was rigged.
Emerging TV powers
It looks like 9TV is joining ABC5 in breathing down the necks of GMA 7 and ABS-CBN. They could give a good competition to GMA’s “24 Oras” which I consider the best news program in the land. This augurs well for viewers who have grown tired of teleseryes and inane entertainment programs.
Oh yes, 9TV also has the best-looking newscasters and reporters in the country, notably Pia Hontiveros (I consider her and ABS-CBN’s Lynda Jumilla the best political reporters on TV), Mai Rodriguez and Mitzi Borromeo (I wonder if she’s related to the former beauty queen Myrna Panlilio-Borromeo.) The two could rival Channel 5’s Grace Lee in beauty. This new outfit also has veteran broadcasters Jing Magsaysay, Gani Oro and Linda Veloso. I wish them the best.