Not in aid of legislation

3
Ma. Isabel Ongpin

Ma. Isabel Ongpin

I think the last thing we need at this time of typhoon havoc, the Zamboanga standoff and the pork barrel scam is another full blown, televised, grandstanding occasion—the proposed Senate investigation of the characters in the pork barrel scandal.

To begin with, in aid of legislation, it is not. There were rules, there are laws, there are all kinds of people responsible for what happened from shrewd public and private personalities to government agencies to bank officers who apparently did not do their duty, but actually committed errors if not cies to help them out. There must be public and private resolve united to address today’s problems with immediate action from the executive, judicial and legislative departments as well as the private sector according to their duties and positions to help. Nowhere is there room or reason for a Senate investigation at this point of the proceedings.

crimes. So, what new legislation is needed to emphasize what we have already seen in graphic examples of non-compliance? The need is to implement the laws not make new laws. The imperative is for the judicial process to proceed. None of these are the job of the Senate.

Furthermore, charges have already been filed, cases are already with the Ombudsman, the COA reports are on-going. What can a Senate investigation add that is meritorious and valuable? Whatever testimony given even under oath will not be taken into consideration by the court. It is after all not a judicial process. That task is for the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan.


Yes, a Senate investigation can be entertaining to the public or even give them and the Senators concerned a chance to heap opprobrium, rush to judgment, villify, bully, berate whatever witnesses come up. Isn’t that what we have witnessed in past Senate investigations? Insults, shaming tactics, intemperate language from the investigators.

It is a sorry sight and demeaning behavior on the part of Senators when their investigation hearings take the character of a kangaroo court where witnesses are publicly shamed and browbeaten. And since civility and presumption of innocence until proven guilty are fundamentals the investigators discard, the whole scenario becomes an exercise in obscenity of public officials behaving as tyrant kings. The public servants behaving like public bullies.

I am sorry but the Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee can blow his top, fulminate against the Department of Justice, issue subpoenas and go through the gamut of childish tantrums, he will impress us not with wisdom and even-handedness but with a compulsion to persecute, the motivation to preen in public which is unbecoming and obviously taking an ego trip.

Meanwhile, any Senate investigation will cost the public too much in taxpayers’ money for nothing gained. The cases will not be furthered. The witnesses will be dragged back and forth for no meaningful result except perhaps to entertain or in a voyeuristic sense to be humiliated and terrorized. Is this what our Democracy should expect from our legislators? Ridiculous expense for ridiculous proceedings.

We all need to be one with the victims of today—typhoon victims that need our help, displaced and bereaved civilians that need our compassion, innocent victims of the pork barrel scam like students, sick persons, farmers in need of technical help. All of them need the government agencies to help them out. There must be public and private resolve united to address today’s problems with immediate action from the executive, judicial and legislative departments as well as the private sector according to their duties and positions to help. Nowhere is there room or reason for a Senate investigation at this point of the proceedings.

miongpin@yahoo.com

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3 Comments

  1. Kudos to both Maria Isabel Ongpin for your article driving home the point that the Senate hearings are unnecessary and to the Manila Times for allowing divergent opinions to get to print.

  2. Another very good article indeed to drive home the point that the Senate hearings are nothing but a charade. And the worst part would be to jeopardize the court proceedings which should be the right venue for instituting punishment for crimes committed. The “aid to legislation” rationale invoked is shallow as the abused being investigated in this instance are in fact imputed to “senators” themselves so like what the article has pointed out in effect – they should have a good grasp already of what they have missed in drafting the laws concerning the “pork barrels”.

  3. Who gives a damn of “in-aid of legislation?”

    Fact is, the senate circus is the only show in town where the people will GET the satisfaction of knowing all the anomalies and scandalous transaction these senatongs and tongressmen have committed with their pork barrel funds which could have been put to better use for disaster relief etc., and providing livelihood programs and infrastructure to our muslim brothers in the south.

    The only people who don’t want the BRC hearings to continue are those in cahoots with these senatongs and tongressmen and the members of the student council who are moving heaven and earth to derail the said investigations.