Speaker GMA could make or break Palawan division bill


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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