Fighting Back

Last June 3, 2009, Leni and I were watching over ANC the proceedings in the Lower House. It was almost midnight but the session hall was still filled with Congressmen. If not for what they were up to, they should be commended for collectively working so hard far beyond their normal hours. (Who says that attendance and securing a quorum are problems that should beset the House?) But because of what they have done, they should be condemned for shamelessly conning us by approving HR 1109, the “Con Ass Resolution”, when almost no one was looking. The timing, the method and the process speaks for itself. The open ended resolution betrayed the underlying motives.

Obviously these Congressmen can not be shaken by public opinion.  From experience, they have sat on important bills, passed laws that are anti-people and railroaded proceedings, without regard on what the public will say. Time and again they have done so. But instead of being kicked out of office, they not only have been allowed to cling to their posts but in fact they have entrenched themselves and their families. They may be so unpopular nationally, but they know that in their jurisdictions they will be voted into office because of the pork they bring to their districts. For most of them, these have funded and will fund their elections. It is not surprising therefore to see some “principled” members of the House hitched on the “cha-cha train” after their share of the gravy were assured. The positions  they have taken and will take are consistent with their version of the “golden rule” . . . he who has the gold rules!

When Speaker Nograles mockingly said that our people now seem to be addicted to mass actions with the planned rallies slated against HR 1109, he is simply saying that he and his cohorts can not be swayed. As far as they are concerned, as long as the constituents in their respective district votes for them, to hell with public opinion. They are not concerned with what is right or wrong. They are not interested on what the people think. They are just after the votes by foul or fair means.

In other words, it is only the language of votes that they will listen to. No morality plays or shaming execises can return them to their senses. We need to campaign to their constituents that they should not be voted to office again. Otherwise they will  continue conning us. We can begin with all the institutions and organizations which denounced HR 1109. The church, business and civil society groups must learn from the lessons of the past. They must not only denounced “Con Ass”. They must also ask the members of their groups not to vote for the “Con Ass Congressmen” and likewise campaign against them. In denouncing “Con Ass”, I will tell everyone who  cares to listen that we not should vote for the Congressmen who believes that they can simply get away with this again. When they seek our vote, offer us money and gifts, we do not need to refuse them. We will lull them into complacency. After conning us for a long time, it is now our turn to con them! Let us make them lose in the next elections.

Author: DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo
June 8, 2009

"I am on my sixth and final term as City Mayor of Naga, was President of the League of Cities of the Philippines, headed the Bicol Regional Development Council for two terms and has been Chairman of the Metro Naga Development Council during the last five terms I have been in office.
 Aside from my work as City Mayor, I am involved with the Synergeia Foundation, the Galing Pook Foundation and the Ateneo De Manila School of Government in promoting better governance not only in local government units but also in other government institutions as well.

I have been an advocate of local autonomy and I deeply believe that our people can be better served if resources and authority are devolved to local government units. Of course, this should be  hand in hand with exacting a system transparency and accountability on our local officials. While it may seem that the “islands of good governance” are few at the moment, they have demonstrated that the quality of service delivery is far more superior when it is handled by  local authorities."

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