Thursday, June 21, 2018
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Kris-Crossing Mindanao

Legislators and their ‘ek-ek’

If the nebulous drifters of elective officials we saw lately on prime time television interviews are any indication, then our country has sunk to the bottom.

The burlesque began right after New Year when the Speaker was asked if his marriage dissolution bill was not self-serving on his part (he makes no bones, by the way, about carrying an adulterous affair). With nary a sign of contrition, he sidetracks the question by going back to his previous declaration that he is a Manobo.

Pantaleon Alvarez is no Manobo. Mrs. Emelita Alvarez said so. He made the sweeping claim that multiple marriages are allowed among the Manobo. Not so, says Datu Isidro Indao of the Matigsalug Manobo. “Duway (polygamy) is no longer practiced because it is a serious violation of women’s rights.”

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Alvarez insists he is a “member” of the Manobo “tribe.” But Manobo is an ethnicity, not a Rotary club where one becomes a “member.” One is either born Manobo (consanguineal, by blood) or, to a limited extent, married into it (affinal). Alvarez is neither. Manobo themselves in intercultural unions tell us for instance, “My wife is a Bisaya.” It is an identity imbued with discourses of nation-ness and of struggle, not a cafeteria pick that comes cheap at one’s convenience.

Following that vaudeville (and what good actors they have become) was the senator of “gago, ulol” infamy. Slammed by netizens over his assailing tweets (to say the least), Win Gatchalian claims not even sheepishly that that was his reply to criticisms coming from bots and trolls. Let’s turn to the dictionary, which defines bots (from web robots) as a “software application that runs automated tasks.” My goodness, Senator Gatchalian, what diatribes will you use the next time criticisms come from humans instead of robots?

His mother was his principal campaign endorser. I recall her words “Mabait si Win (Win is a good boy).” Being onion-skinned — a trait that must have no place ever in the ethos of ALL public officials — is certainly not part of the qualities of a “good boy.” It is an oxymoron. Gatchalian’s problem then is not just decorum (perhaps his mother did not teach him well?) but more importantly of accountability.

Speaking of mothers, another senator was in the news not only because his mother is about to face a recall election but also because he defended Gatchalian. JV Ejercito’s defense of a colleague’s misdeed only reinforces the negative impression of the Senate as an exclusive boys’ club where mores do not count outside porcine camaraderie.

JV was asked on the propriety (meaning: decency) of his half-brother Jinggoy running for the Senate. His answer stunned. “I filed an antidynasty bill” (so his mother and father are not his blood kin?). “There should only be one of us in the Senate.” Unaware that he was already off-track, the next question logically was: “Who among the two of you should run?” And you can guess what his answer was.

Forget having a legislature of publicly paid officials who know right from wrong. It is time we discard the grossly corrupt practice of choosing elective officials based on the lesser evil. Is it due to the fact that our elections are no longer instruments of empowerment but are mere debaucheries of the highest bidder? Have we consigned our power to choose to the resignation that the vulgarities of corruption are now normative?

A Congress of thick-faced purveyors of bizarre illogic who twist syllogisms to suit their proclivity for self-preservation can never be the norm. When legislators are pompous asses, the noblesse oblige of the nation is lost.

This is the kind of Congress that will arrogate unto itself the task of becoming a constituent assembly to rewrite the Constitution. To have misapprehensions this early is only politically correct. To say what else is new is to abdicate our citizen’s duty to protect a just and humane society.

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An analyst advised: We should show our opposition en masse. We should manifest opposition now even before they contemplate Con-ass. Time is of the essence.

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TAGS: 17th Congress, Antonio J. Montalvan II, charter change, Emelita Alvarez, Jinggoy Estrada, jv ejercito, Kris-Crossing Mindanao, legislators, Manobo, Pantaleon Alvarez, Sherwin Gatchalian
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