It was nothing more than a distraction, but the parade of congresswomen and congressmen’s wives in glittering gowns at the opening of the 16th Congress demonstrated the insensitivity of the country’s ruling class.
The fashion show—no other way to describe it—was more appropriate in an Oscar’s night, except for the fact that the participants didn’t look glamorous at all.
Sure, Congresswoman Lucy Torres was stunning in Filipiniana and Senator Loren Legarda looked elegant in a gown made of local cloth with tribal motif. But the rest were just tacky in frilly gowns, like congressional spouses Assunta de Rossi-Ledesma, Stella Quimbo, and Jinkee Pacquiao. Then there was Senator Chiz Escudero’s date, Heart Evangelista, who looked like, well, a member of the TV Kapuso stable.
The comparison with Hollywood is maybe a little off-kilter. By the very nature of the profession, actresses are expected to be beautiful. The congresswomen and lady senators, stripped down to their expensive underwear, are no better than the unwashed masses in the looks department.
If anything the ladies only managed to look like contestants in “Super Sireyna”, a noontime television show currently popular with the masses.
The analogy is not entirely off the mark. The contestants in the show are fake, although the fakery is just for laughs. The SONA ladies, contrary to their claims, are no representatives of the people, either. Oops! our mistake. They have dropped that pretense a long time ago.
If these people come across as insensitive, it’s because they are. These are mostly of the landowning class who have shifted to politics. And whether they are running the hacienda or serving in the government, they grow rich on the back of the people.
The rich all over the world flaunt their wealth. The plutocrats in this country are especially execrable because they haven’t earned their wealth legitimately. Or even if they had done so, its display cannot be justified in a country where the great masses of the people have barely enough to eat. That is, if they are not actually rummaging through the piles of garbage for some rotting food to fill their stomach.
But maybe the local ruling class is acting appropriately after all. The legislature, along with the rest of the government, is a dream factory, like Hollywood. The dream, however, is not meant to entertain but to dazzle the masses into believing they have a government that works for their welfare.
Nothing starkly demonstrates the failure of the ruling class more than the incursion of Chinese vessels into what, since time immemorial, has been part of the country’s territorial waters—and recognized as such by the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas.
The funds that could have gone to the purchase of ships and planes to give the country a credible defense capability is dissipated by the lawmakers. Thus, the country is left adrift in a turbulent sea, with nothing to defend itself.
Not a few people were disappointed by the failure of President Aquino 3rd to tell his audience in his fourth State of the Nation Address what he intended to do with the Priority Development Assistance Fund.
The public had been demanding the abolition of this item in the budget, but that is a course of action as revolutionary as, say, jailing a congressman or a senator for thievery.
Unfortunately or fortunately—take your pick—a revolution won’t happen. The Filipino people tried it before, or were forced to try that path. It didn’t work
The late, unlamented Ferdinand Marcos established “a Constitutional democracy” on the pretext of reforming society, but it turned out to be the people’s worst nightmare. The country became one huge internment camp, but the food and development promised in exchange for the loss of liberty did not come.
A number of military adventurers tried not once but many times to take over the government. The country can thank its lucky stars the putsch did not succeed. If the subsequent actuations of one of its leaders, Senator Gregorio Honasan, are any guide, the country would have been worse off.
Nor will the people accept the Leftist alternative. Otherwise, the NPA-NDF would have claimed victory a long time ago.
Nobody cared when Marcos padlocked Congress. So bad had the image of legislators become at that time that the people did not give a darn when senators like Ninoy Aquino, Jovito Salonga, and Jose W. Diokno were arrested and locked up.
A revolution won’t happen, but if and when it does, the people won’t object to the dissolution of the 16th Congress. It has a worse image, and there are no government officials held by the people with as much contempt as its members.