Hotheads delay Cha-cha hearing


THE first hearing conducted by the House of Representatives on Charter change Wednesday was marred by squabbling between two lawmakers who almost exchanged blows had cooler heads not intervened.

Representatives Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte and Prospero Pichay of Surigao del Sur traded curses after heated discussions on the motion of Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia that the House should convene as a Constitutional Assembly to tackle proposals to amend the Charter.

Earlier in the hearing, Pichay made a pitch for ConAss saying it is the easiest and most cost-effective way to amend the 1987 Constitution and pave the way for the shift from unitary to federal system of government.

But when the committee was about to vote on Garcia’s motion, Pichay made a turnaround and said that voting cannot be done unless the House and the Senate are convened together. Others who opposed Garcia’s motion were Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque and Ron Salo.

The prolonged debate irked Barbers, who asked the panel’s chairman, Rep. Roger Mercado, not to entertain senseless motions.

When Mercado suspended the hearing, Barbers went to Pichay, tapped his shoulder and said “Putang ina mo! (You son of a whore!) to which Pichay responded “Putang ina mo rin!”

Some lawmakers tried to separate Barbers and Pichay, including Deputy Speaker and Pangasinan Rep. Primicias Aggabas.

At this point, Roque moved to adjourn the hearing.

Roque viewed the incident as an initial victory for groups opposed to Charter change.

“We have successfully derailed efforts to railroad Charter change,” Roque told reporters.

Barbers later apologized for his rage.

“I apologize to the public. That verbal altercation was uncalled for. If ever I offended anyone, I apologize,” Barbers said.

But he clarified that he is not apologizing to Pichay.

“My apology is not to him. What I did wrong was I spoke bad words which are due to his words,” he added.


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  1. Vagoneto Rieles on

    The disappointing spectacle at the ‘Batasan’, where Representatives of neighboring provinces almost ‘duked-it-out’, could only have been caused by a lack of adherence to Parliamentary Procedure; pride; and, an incapacity of a language…’Taglish’…to cover a broad variety of situations. Of the three, the inadequacy of Taglish, or, Tagalog on which it is based, might very well be the culprit. Compared to ‘English’ which has a far broader vocabulary…and which Congressmen have a good grasp of, Taglish comes up way short in a parliamentary setting. Advocating for Congressmen to be more proficient in English is pointless. To them, having achieved the positions they now hold, there is no need to fix a winning position. Addressing a different group…say the youth… would, therefore, be more practicable. Teaching proper English, from the elementary grades through College, must be brought back. Not only is English a more efficient medium…it is the world’s basic currency.
    Could you imagine making ‘p**tang ina’ a phrase in every other sentence we make? And, must we resort to fisticuffs because we could not express ourselves in any other way? I an thinking, not.

  2. Roralidrakkonis on

    We have congressmen calling each other PI. We have leaders insulting each other’s sexual proclivity and hair. Is this the new mindset?

  3. Jeric R.Leviste on

    Ganyan ba dapat ang mga reactions ng mga congressman sa mga national issues… tsk..tsk…