I have nothing against looking into the allegations of ‘double insertions’ by lawmakers in the national budget. This is common practice some legislators say – widely accepted as a norm in the legislative branch depending on the proponent’s motive. But I think this is a glaring loophole in Congress’ procedures that should be filled. Even the most corrupt legislator can easily cloak his evil intentions; justify his ‘double insertion,’ say, out of concern for the ‘greater good,’ and get away with it.
So when Senator Panfilo Lacson charged Senate President Manuel Villar recently of the latter’s alleged insertion in this year’s budget of P200 million for the C-5 road extension project, I immediately felt that the Senate was headed for a free-for-all.
And look at them now. The once hardnosed, opposition dominated Senate is now splintered with most of its stalwarts now engaged in a “word war,” exchanging diatribes that borders to the personal.
Sen. Jamby Madrigal too has joined in the fray echoing Lacson’s accusations against Villar and his call for the Senate boss to step down. In a two-hour privileged speech yesterday, Madrigal, to the top of her lungs, refused to yield to her colleagues in the upper chamber particularly to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano whom she tagged as among Villar’s “attack dogs”. Need I mention Jamby’s earlier charge that Villar is a ‘liar’?
To think that Sen. Lacson has yet to substantiate his claim of Villar’s impropriety; it’s quite saddening that the Senate now, it seems, has gone to the dogs.
And guess who’s having the time of their lives? Yep, it’s Gloria and her allies in the administration. Nothing could be more entertaining for them than watching all their political enemies in the Senate pull down each other.
With the presidential wannabes from the opposition throwing bricks at each other in the Senate; Gloria must be mighty happy right now, not only because the opposition is demolishing itself without much effort from her camp, but the most abhorrent of all corruption scandals (which are carried out by the administration of course) are now being sidelined and leisurely forgotten.
I am not saying that we should pay no attention to the ‘double insertion’ brouhaha, but the matter has been referred to the proper Senate bodies already. So pending the result of that investigation, cease fire muna dapat sa Senado.
Our warring Senators should instead focus on building a strong and united opposition ticket that will challenge the administration in the 2010 presidential elections. It may be a tall order considering that almost all of them harbor presidential ambitions, but that’s what they ought to be doing right now.
Focus should also be given to the never ending list of corruptions and crimes of this administration. They should stand guard against any moves from the administration to tinker with the national budget for the purpose of using it in financing their campaign for 2010. Malacanang’s request for an additional P1 billion for travel expenses for next year’s national budget is an alarming case in point.
These are the issues that need to be raised in the Senate, not the popularity ratings of some presidential wannabes. Who ever they may be.
Besides, the Senate has bigger fish to fry.
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