What was the intent of the House ad? | Inquirer Opinion

What was the intent of the House ad?

/ 09:05 PM August 09, 2013

I cannot put my finger on what the advertisement of the House of Representatives, 15th Congress, was all about (Page A4, 7/21/13).

If the House leaders were thinking to impress on people’s minds that the House in the 15th Congress was really for good governance even as the JLN scandal was written all over it, I’d tell them, think again! On the other hand, if they were thinking to suppress the stink of the JLN scandal, I’d say good luck.

Now if they just wanted to ride on the State of the Nation Address of President Aquino, I’d say what a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Consider the following: Out of a total of 1,029 working days from July 2010 to June 2013, the House used only 168 to hold sessions. That is far from impressive considering that 168 is only 15 percent of 1,029 and the high rate of absenteeism among its members. With the negative effect of the P10-billion JLN scandal, I expect the House’s trust rating would be down by next survey. Pulse Asia, in a survey conducted last January, found a decline in the trust rating for Speaker Feliciano Belmonte who nevertheless was reelected by the voters of his congressional district. Still that’s no justification for the ad.

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So what was the ad supposed to achieve? Are we supposed to be impressed with the quality of laws the 15th Congress promulgated? The ad listed some laws classified as landmark reform laws.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10174)?

If ordinary citizens only knew what actually transpires during the deliberations on the General Appropriations Act, they’d be aghast with the horse-trading and shall, we say, self-promotion among congressmen.

Now look at RA 10344, An Act Penalizing the Unauthorized Taking, Stealing, Keeping or Tampering of Government Risk Reduction and Preparedness Equipment Accessories and Similar Facilities. Does that sound like quality work?

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And how is reviving the observance of Arbor (trees) Day a landmark reform law?

What about RA 10389 or An Act Institutionalizing Recognizance as a Mode of Granting the Release of an Indigent Person in Custody as an Accused in a Criminal Case and For Other Purposes? Right off the bat, a reader can see that the 15th Congress just institutionalized the divide between the rich and the poor in the administration of justice. Is this law a joke?

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There ought to be a law against government institutions putting out ads for self-promotion. RA 10531 or the National Electrification Decree should be amended to cover politicians and government functionaries who promote themselves, and its name should be changed into the “National Kuryente Decree.”

—BONG CALANTUAN,

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TAGS: Advertisement, House of Representatives, letters

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