The Senate Committee on Energy headed by Sen. Serge Osmena is conducting an inquiry into the hideous power rate hike that adds burden to the long-suffering consumers.
Excuse me for being cynical but I see nothing beneficial would come out of that hearing. One of the main reasons for my cynicism is the relation of Senator Serge to the Lopez family that’s involved in both power generation and distribution. He’s married to a Lopez so there’s conflict of interest here. Everybody in the Senate knows his wife is a Lopez so why did the Senate leadership still pick him as head of the energy committee?
Definitely, the Senate of the 16th Congress, and this holds true to previous congresses, doesn’t give a hoot about conflicts of interest. Sen. Lito Lapid is chairman of the Senate Committee on Tourism even if his son Mark is head of the Philippine Tourism Authority. I remember a case in the Nevada legislature where a member was censured because he voted on a measure that benefited a company where his chief of staff was connected. The Senate has no Code of Conduct. Why, it doesn’t even consider the organization of the Senate Committee on Ethics a priority!
In the US Congress, the Committee on Ethics is not a regular committee but a select committee. Its power and scope are wide ranging, however, for it also covers the conduct not only of senators and congressmen but of Congress employees as well. Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a bill seeking to institute a Code of Conduct in the Senate but not a single public hearing has been conducted on it.
Mere finger pointing?
Going back to the Senate inquiry into the biggest power rate hike ever in this country, power consumers should not expect any relief from this move. I’m happy to be proved wrong but it may result in merely pointing blame for this added Calvary to consumers. Oh yes, I also don’t expect any blame to be laid in the doorsteps of Malacañang. President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino 3rd has already washed his hands off this problem, saying it’s beyond his power to stop.
Well, how could our President go wrong when he believes that God is with him and that his critics merely want him to fail? He even invoked the name of the Supreme Being against the “industry of criticism” prevailing in the country. He lamented that his critics had ignored his attempts to reach out to them.
If he really wanted to reach out to his critics and political enemies, then he could correctly be likened to the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa and to the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln. They both united their respective divided countries. There’s this anecdote about Lincoln whose offer of friendship to Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy was bitterly criticized by a woman who lost two sons fighting for the Union Army in the US Civil War. “Why should you offer a hand of friendship to our enemies when you ought to destroy them?” the irate mother wrote. To this, Lincoln retorted:” Madame, don’t I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
Again, I’m being cynical in believing that the President had truly reached out to his critics. He’s proved to be onion-skinned and has long memories on persons who have offended him. I’ll believe this claim only when I see him reconciling with former Sen. Joker Arroyo, a family friend of more than 40 years. Joker once told me that the President simply refuses to talk to him. The reason for PNoy’s unbridled resentment against Joker? Joker made him look out of his depths in debating a legal issue. He simply couldn’t accept that he was wrong and he faulted Joker for proving that he was indeed wrong.
The Supreme Court should have settled that issue in a decision that affirmed Joker’s stand. However, this meant nothing to President who, to this day, bristles with rage why Joker still insisted on pointing out that his stand was wrong. Joker was a family friend but this meant nothing to the President who until now believes that he could do no wrong, that his legal knowledge is better than anybody else, including a legal eagle like Joker or the justices of the Supreme Court.
Maybe, the President’s well-known preoccupation with computer games is behind his belief that he’s intelligence is above others. After all, didn’t Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile say that he plays a computer game “to sharpen his mind?” No wonder, PNoy believes that he has a razor-sharp mind, unlike his critics and political enemies.