Rep. Manny Pacquiao of Saranggani was present in the first two sessions of the House in the 16th Congress. Hallelujah! That’s hundred- percent attendance, very impressive when compared to his overall attendance in the 15th Congress where he was one of the top absentees. Unfortunately, good things never last. His perfect attendance lasted only two days. He was marked absent in the next two sessions. I guess he still don’t know when to quit.
If I were Pacquiao, I would have quit while I’m ahead but I’m not he and I know he wouldn’t for he’s after a bigger goal. Pacquiao had said that it was his dream to be president someday. Well, well, well, judging by his performance in the 15th Congress and in the first four sessions of the 16th, he’s really starting on the right foot. After all, accomplishing nothing in the House had led one to the Senate and later, to Malacanang. The Philippines will be doubly blest if we’ll have Pacquiao for president.
“Blest” did I say? Well, why not? We are a prayerful lot. The House and the Senate, especially the Senate, begin each session with prayers. Ours is one of the few legislatures in the world that does so. Excerpts of the prayer recited by Rep. Naida Angping of Manila at the inaugural session of the 16th Congress show the depth of our legislators’ faith in the Divine Providence:
“We, the Members of Congress, upon whom rests the burden of a grave responsibility that places us at the center of the whole nation, implore Thy aid for the fulfillment of our office that we intend to accept and exercise for the greater spiritual and material welfare of our people.
“Grant that we may never deviate from that sound impartiality which dictates that we labor without unjust preferences for the good of all. Grant also that we may never fail in loyalty to our people, nor in firm adherence to the principles which we openly profess, nor in the noble resolve to preserve ourselves above all possible corruption and base selfish ambitions.
“Help us to be calm in all our deliberations and to be immune from all passion except such as is inspired by the honest quest after truth. May our resolutions be in conformity with Thy precepts even if the service of Thy will should demand sufferings and sacrifices. Keep far from us every form of human ambition and every kind of lust for illicit gain. Inspire us with a real, lively and profound sentiment of what constitutes a sound social order wherein full regard is always for law and justice.”
And how about this prayer of Sen. Bam Aquino at the start of the Senate’s second session day on July 23:
“Almighty God, we here are all servants, out to fulfill Your mission of improving the lives of our fellow Filipinos. Teach us to be hardworking, diligent and steadfast, for the road is rough and the solutions do not come easily.
“Teach us to be patient and respectful of each other’s differences; keep us from pettiness and arrogance; and enable us to lead our people with dignity and grace.
Moreover, remind us, 0 Lord, that our true power comes from the people whom we serve.
“Give us the courage to always do what is right, even in the face of temptation and adversity. Remind us that power, fame, influence and wealth are for naught if they do not serve the common good.
Shine your eternal light of truth upon u so that we may always serve with openness, honesty, integrity and the true will of the people.”
The prayers of Congresswoman Naida, a former Miss Caltex and wife of ex-Rep. Harry Angping, and of Sen. Bam Aquino, first cousin of our very popular (according to surveys) President BS Aquino, show that they know how they should serve the people and what virtues God should give them to perform their tasks. Now, if God would only answer their prayers, then we should have nothing to worry about. We’ll have legislators who are hardworking and not absentees. We’ll see no arrogance among senators and congressmen in committee hearings where contrary opinions are aired by guests and resource persons. There’ll be no more shouting matches and personal vilification in committee and floor deliberations.
If their prayers are answered, then we’ll have senators and congressmen, who are honest and transparent in doing their job as public servants. But above all, we’ll have legislators who’ll pursue what is right even if it is unpopular and against the wishes of Malacañang. But, why is it that that kind of a lawmaker does not predominate despite the daily prayers in the halls of Congress?