It was a side show that turned into a weird finale of a badly scripted vaudeville.
That was how GMA’s power grab in the House, launched a few hours before the SONA, appeared to her perennial critics. It was indeed the undisputed telenovela of the day, which was both amusing as it was disgusting. Executed in the presence of bewildered Diplomats and Senators who came early to hear the President, it also showcased why our leaders’ political naiveté is one argument for scuttling the move to a parliamentary form of government. Regrettably for a seasoned politician like GMA, she failed to exercise prudence in tempering her eager-beaver partisans during that rump session.
But as a coup which depends on surprise and blitz to be effective, the timing could not have been more perfect. After all, who would have thought that this could be done while the President is in the adjoining room waiting to perform his constitutional duty?
It is said that power is a potent motivator that pushes its wielder to do great deeds and defy insurmountable odds. I never thought that it could also cause amnesia for basic courtesies. So disgusted was the President that at one point, he threatened to leave Batasan, were it not for the timely joke of Senate President Sotto which greatly diffused the tense atmosphere. And in the end, it was still the President who had to find a solomonic solution to break the impasse between his two bull-headed allies.
Poor Digong, robbed of his finest hour in the greatest spectacle of the Presidency, he left for Davao deep into the night for his much needed rest.
THROWBACK: It was during PGMA’s Presidency that the national government made that preposterous claim that the Malampaya oil fields is not part of Palawan, and therefore, it should not partake of its largesse. That was a most damaging policy statement ever made by any President against Palawan. Think of the billions of pesos we could have used for development were it not for that policy flip-flop of PGMA.
Now by force, we have to deal with her. As Speaker, she could make or break our aspirations for the creation of new Palawan provinces. As she controls the legislative agenda, she could send the bill to the backburner or speed off its passage. Although Rep. Erick Abueg and Rep Franz Alvarez are now part of Speaker Arroyo’s majority block, I will not be surprised if Gov. JCA will lead another round of visits to the new Speaker and to the new Senate President, reprising what he did with then Speaker Alvarez and with then Senate President Pimentel.
Political events are happening fast and political leaders are changing job descriptions as the wind changes directions. We are at the cross roads of our nation’s history. Soon the debate will be on Charter change and the shift to Federalism. There is also the tedious hearings on the 2019 National Budget to occupy our Congressmen. it’s a full House, indeed.
Governor JCA will have to draw on his deep reservoir of political capital to keep the Bill on track.
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