Another ‘first’ from TG Guingona 3rd! He dissed his Senate colleagues, specially the members of the yellow, oh well blue, ribbon committee he chairs.
He showed disrespect and utter disregard for his colleagues when he conducted a presscon yesterday about the results of the ribbon committee inquiry into the pork barrel scam involving Janet Lim Napoles.
This grizzled Congress Insider had never heard of a committee chairman holding a presscon about a committee report even before his colleagues could read it. So, that presscon is another “first” from Guingona.
His other “first” was an announcement in the previous Congress that his staff had faxed a committee report to Malacañang on the inquiry into corruption in the armed forces even before he could submit the report to the Committee on Rules.
I’m sure the members of the committee won’t relish what Guingona had just done. He was already presuming that majority of the members would agree to his conclusions or else he wouldn’t have bared them to the public. Even if they do eventually agree, this would make them look like a bunch of sheep that would meekly accept any discourtesy shown to them. But what if most of the members will have serious reservations about his findings and recommendations? Certainly, that will make his “committee report” a mere scrap of paper.
Senators Tito Sotto , Pia Cayetano, Chiz Escudero and many other committee chairmen wouldn’t even allow this columnist to get a glimpse of a committee report before it could be signed by members. I had the same experience with former Senators Joker Arroyo, Nene Pimentel, Blas Ople, Edgardo J. Angara. These veteran legislators have such a high regard for their committee members that they wanted to keep their reports under wraps until the members had read them. Sure, I was able to read reports a number of times while it was being signed, but this was courtesy of some friendly committee members signing the report, never with the help of the committee chair. And, certainly, no committee chair before Guingona had bared a report that hadn’t been read by the members.
Committee members deserve elementary courtesy from their chairman. This is sadly lacking in Guingona’s eagerness to hog the headlines. Guingona threw this elementary courtesy for committee members out the window in his desire to hog the headlines again. At the end of his presscon, he begged off from entertaining questions from Senate reporters “in deference to his colleagues who still have to read the report.” His “deference” appears insincere to me. He actually took his colleagues for granted in announcing the “committee” report. It won’t make any difference if majority will later concur with his findings and recommendations. The fact remains that he bared a report before his colleagues could read it.
I find it puzzling why the “committee report” washed its hands off the testimony of Dennis Cunanan and Ruby Tuason. This is a big letdown after Guingona had described Tuason’s testimony as a buzzer-beating three-pointer that had won the game. As regards Cunanan, he’s shown to have made a false testimony before the committee. Why should the committee allow this when it has vowed to search for the truth?
Pia on women’s issues
Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Family Relations and Gender Equality, is really bent on amending or repealing legal provisions that are discriminatory to women.
In my previous column, I mentioned two of them: a husband’s decision prevails over the wife in property disputes, a wife can’t file serious physical injuries against her husband if he mauled her only once.
In our talk at the Slice Café in Bonifacio Global City, she said Congress should also look at the provision that a father’s consent would suffice for a minor to get married. Senator Pia said this provision ignores the views of the mother.
“Then, there’s a big gap in proving cases of concubinage and adultery. Under our laws, it’s easier to convict a woman of adultery than a man of concubinage. Infidelity is infidelity and the quantum of proof should be the same whether it involves a man or a woman,” she stressed.
The amendment or repeal of these laws or legal provisions would further enhance gender equality that had already been pushed with the enactment of the Magna Carta of Women, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004, and the repeal of the Labor Code provision banning night work by women.
Senator Pia said national progress would be enhanced buy having more women legislators.
“Decisions arrived at by a multi-sectoral body benefit a bigger number of the population. We should have a Congress that has more women representatives,” she stressed.
She noted that while Filipino voters are open to a lady president and to a lady governor, they are generally not too keen in electing women to collegial bodies.