In October 2008, a senator filed a bill on a highly technical subject: Lymphatic Filiarisis Research. To make the subject matter more understandable to the layman, the author explained that “lymphatic filariasis shall refer to the parasitic and infectious tropical disease that is caused by thread-like parasitic worms of the type filarial nematode.” Got it?
He also explained the need for a research and information campaign on this subject: “The elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem in the Philippines is a 20-year strategic plan for the world community, with the vision of all endemic communities to be free of transmission of lymphatic filariasis by 2020 and with the commitment to ensure the delivery of quality technologies and human services to eliminate lymphatic filariasis worldwide through a multi-stakeholder global alliance of all endemic countries.”
I’m no Dr. Giovanni Tapang, the Times columnist with unquestioned expertise on science and technology. To a layman like me, that explanation needs further explaining. From the author? The bill’s lone author on record, and you’d better believe it, was Sen. Lito Lapid.
That wasn’t the only bill on technology filed by this former actor. He also authored a bill titled “Promoting Aeroponics Technology in Agricultural Production.” He defined aeroponics technology as “the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. Aeroponic culture differs from both hydroponics and in-vitro (plant tissue culture) growing. Unlike hydroponics, which uses water as a growing medium, and essential minerals to sustain plant growth, aeroponics is conducted without a growing medium.” It’s as simple as that!
But why go into aeroponics? Lapid’s explanation: “With aeroponics, the deleterious effects of seed stocks that are infected with pathogens can be minimized due to the separation of the plants and the lack of shared growth matrix. In addition, due to the enclosed, controlled environment, aeroponics can be an ideal growth system in which to grow seed stocks that are pathogen-free.”
I cited those measures by Lapid in answer to those questioning his credentials. From one who started his stint in the Senate by hiring one who could translate English into Pilipino or Pampango, Lapid had metamorphosed into one using impeccable English in his measures. And not only that—he has progressed into a technical-minded one. Never mind if his bills are difficult to comprehend! Isn’t he a plagiarist, I mean a miracle worker?
With bills like those two, Lapid’s intelligence should no longer be questioned. Unfortunately, he never got to sponsor those bills on the Senate floor. They might have been so high above the head of his supposedly more intellectual colleagues that they were never reported out by the committees that handled them.
Looking back, at no time has he ever stood up to sponsor any measure. The Senate had adopted a big number of his resolutions most of which dealt with commending or congratulating Filipino boxers, athletes and chessmen. However, I can’t remember his ever standing up to defend those resolutions on the floor. His sponsorship speeches were merely inserted into the record, thus depriving his colleagues the opportunity to interpellate him on the floor. The same holds true with the only law he had authored in his nine years as senator—the so-called Lapid Law.
The Legal Assistance to the Poor Act of 2010 authored by Lapid seeks to encourage more lawyers and law firms to render pro bono services to poor clients. It allows participating lawyers or law firms a tax deduction of up to 10 percent of their gross income.
Lapid said he got the inspiration to file the bill after a poor constituent got jailed for failing to get legal counsel for a misdemeanor. However, he never stood up to defend his bill on the floor. The job of sponsoring the Legal Assistance to the Poor Act of 2010 went to Sen. Francis Escudero, who was then chairman of the Senate Committee on Revision of Codes and Laws. (Say, why is it that I have this troubling feeling the that Lapid Law was actually a carbon copy of a bill filed by Sen. Franklin Drilon that got archived in 2007?)
Lapid is now at par with then Sen. Joseph Estrada who had authored only one law, the Carabao Center Act, in his five years as senator. Why, he is even better as a lawmaker than President BS Aquino who had not authored even a single law in his 12 years as a legislator! I hope this will not give Lapid any idea that his singular achievement is enough to catapult him to Malacañang.
(BTW, I thought of writing about Lapid after reading the comments of INSIDE CONGRESS readers George Acebedo and jhuntayo)