Friday, August 25, 2006

The Second Impeachment Complaint...part 3

After the vote in the Committee on Justice hearing on the second Impeachment Complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, it was then that I began to contemplate on the vote in the plenary.

Prior to the decision of the Committee on Justice, I was still hoping against hope that a fair and unhindered presentation of the complaint and the evidence supporting it was going to be allowed. I was banking on the belief that since COngress is a deliberative body, congressmen will listen to reason and instead of putting up legal technicalities as obstacles to the truth, they will stretch the limits of rules in order to assist the Truth to come out, before making an objective, rational and intelligent decision on how to vote.

I would like to think that I am an idealist. I shudder at every moment in my politician's life when I stop and ponder if I am losing my idealism and start becoming a pragmatist. I still believd in the process and I still had faith in the Institution that is the House of Representatives.

But as things turned out, the impeachment complaint was not going to see the light of day. It was then that I began to question the process and the wisdom of pursuing an objective that will never be achieved.

I am one who believes that while we stand firm in the principles and causes we fight for, we should also be flexible enough to adapt to the situations we face in the pursuit of those principles and causes. The US Marines have a motto to remind the troops how to perform under fire, even under the most dire conditions..."IMPROVISE, ADAPT adn OVERCOME."

The question was: "should we pursue impeachment even if it does not have a chance at all to survive? What will its dismissal do to the opposition's objectives and goals?" It was time for strategic rather than emotional and sentimental thinking.

After much contemplation, I arrived at the conclusion that under the prevailing process in the House, the impeachment complaint's fate was already sealed by the overwhelming number of the Majority. I knew that no amount of reasoning or argument can change that.

With that, I decided to abstain from voting, and I even prepared my explanation of vote:

Mr. Speaker, colleagues:

“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgments in your courts” – Zechariah 8:16

For the second time in the 13th Congress, we are called upon to exercise our duties as Representatives of the People and decide on a matter that will have great consequence to our nation. We are asked to decide whether or not the President of the Republic of the Philippinesshall be brought to trial by the Senate for offenses prescribed by the Constitution as a basis for impeaching the Chief Executive.

Exactly 350 days ago, I, along with 50 other members of this House, voted to reject the report of the Committee on Justice dismissing the impeachment complaint against the President not as voices of defiance against a force in power, but rather as a chorused appeal to our colleagues in behalf of Truth, for the opportunity to present our case and for the President to clear her name in a transparent process that would have lain to rest any question about her presidency.

I have no regrets in standing for what I believed in, and I maintain that it was worth the fight. Ultimately, the judge of whether we did right or wrong in last year’s impeachment will not be our fellow man but God Almighty.

It is a sad note that even before this year’s complaint saw the light of day in the Committee on Justice, it was already sentenced to its doomed fate. It is ironic that with the same vigor that the death penalty was abolished in this Chamber in the name of justice, the people’s complaint was summarily executed in cold blood, its eventual death decided on before the first bang of the gavel.

The rhetoric by those who proclaimed the death even before the initial examination speaks of verbal creativity. Indeed the play with words are worthy of emulation, if only for the display of literary prowess. I doubt, however, if it reflects any value for fairness and balance in the process.

I am a believer in Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Of his five essentials for victory, the first says, “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” This is further explained by Chang Yu, one of the acknowledged commentators on the Art of War, “If he can fight, he advances and takes the offensive; if he cannot fight, he retreats and remains on the defensive. He will invariably conquer who knows whether it is right to take the offensive or the defensive.”

A tactical retreat should not be equated to the abandonment of a cause. It is merely a selection of the battlefield where one will fight, a lesson not lost on General MacArthur, who, if he had chosen to stay and fight the Japanese, could have died a hero but never see the victory at the end of the war.

The conditions prevailing last year are different from conditions prevailing this year. That is not to say that questions about the Truth have already been answered, partially or wholly. It is just that there are less elements that favor a successful impeachment.

On hindsight, my knee-jerk reaction to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the PhilippinesJuly 9, 2006 statement on the impeachment process may have been misplaced. My first reaction was that of dismay at what I believed was a political decision by a body that was supposed to provide a moral guide for the policy makers.

Now I am inclined to agree with their statement, that indeed, the process does not lend justice to the noble cause of the search for truth.

While I no longer favor the pursuit of impeachment at this time for reasons of strategy and not of substance, I cannot be counted with those who agree with this committee report. I find the process not in conformity to my ideal manner of how to let the Truth come out.

I believe that it requires extra effort on everyone’s part for Truth to reveal itself, and any resistance, however miniscule, will surely hinder its exposition.

I enjoy competitive sports. But if I feel that a game is fixed, or rigged to go in favor of a particular side, I lose interest in participating in it. I would rather not allow myself to be subjected to such an insult and just wait for the next game.

The impeachment is not the be-all and end-all of the search for Truth. The cause is greater than the process and I believe that there are other methods and opportunities to continue the fight for righteousness in government.

I do not wish to participate in this particular process, therefore, I abstain.
But as I was listening to the interpellations prior to the voting, I couldn't help but be dismayed at how the debate was proceeding. It was disappointing to hear none of the expected gentlemanly debate that is contemplated by Robert's Rules of Order or even the Rules of the House of Representatives.

It was bad enough that the spirit of giving the minority the chance to present its case and possibly, just possibly, convince other congressmen of their cause was abandoned. It was made worse by the arrogant manner of interpellation by some members of the majority.

This was not the idealist's preference of a truly "Honorable" House of Representatives and Impeachment Proceedings.

It was then that another decision was made...that of NON-PARTICIPATION.

I did not wish to participate in a process that did not conform to what I believed should be the way a COnstitutional process is conducted by a COnstitutional institution. Even a vote of Abstention would have lent credence to something that I objected to.



Dear Congressman Biazon,

I believe your non-participation is not a surrender.

It is my conviction that you will rise to fight the good fight another day.

Good luck.

With best regards to your father, the esteemed Senator Biazon.

Ruffy Biazon said...

Thank you for your comment, hillblogger!

cory* said...

So you're MY Congressman!
I'm from AA, and I am dispappointed with your non-participation!

It was a big chance to show you care for Inang Bayan and you blew it!

The Bystander said...

C'mon Ruffy, even before the Justice Committee made the Committee report, you already knew the outcome that was to befall on the 2nd impeachment complaint. Obviously, the majority of the members of that committee are GMA diehards. It is higly impossible and improbable that a man of your caliber would still "hope against hope" that Macarambon et. al. would allow the presentation at least of the evidence. Nevertheless, I don't have a choice. I have to take your word for it. But, I am sorry to say, it is such a hypocritical crap.

Your reliance and applicaton of the doctrines of Sun Tzu as your shield of justification for your NON-PARTICIPATION in the voting at the plenary is sorely misplaced. We are not simply in a "war", Ruffy, as you would like to put it. It is a quest for the truth, not a military war for God's sake! If you really believed in what you stood for, you could have shown your moral support to the "opposition" by participating in the voting, even if you knew as everybody did that the impeachment complaint was doomed from the start.

You could not blame people like me who now doubt your sincerity.

JriDDles said...

ayn rand said, either you're for A or non-A. zero is the metaphysics of the leech.

dissappointed with you, mr. congressman. your non-participation smacks of a tradpol's stance. an idealist will always carry his badge with conviction.

Artemio de la Cruz said...

I’m disappointed for your non -participation in the 2nd impeachment complaint filed against President Gloria Arroyo. Its humiliating when pro Arroyo traditional politicians clobbered the out-numbered pro impeachment lawmakers while you hold your hands folded in the sidelines. Evil intent triumphs because good men do nothing to prevent it. Please cut the crap about Sun Tzu on the Art of War. It’s hard to sell alibi for non-participation in the voting at the plenary.

You are a disappointment for not protecting the interests of overseas Filipino workers (OFW). One of the impeachment complaint is the alleged illegal transfer of P 500M OWWA trust funds to Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth). Phil Health cards, funded by the OWWA funds used to boost Gloria Arroyo campaign for the May 2004 presidential elections. The OFW’s are emerging new breed of middle class in the Philippines. We send hard-earned dollars to our families back home and save our economy gone to the dogs. We are risking our lives and sometimes on a slave labor condition just to survive.

Muntinlupa OFW’s and their families and voters may forgive what you had done (non-participation) but never forget your name in the next election. It will be a judgment day for you Honorable Rep. Biazon and rest of 173 shameless lower house deputies.

Artemio De La Cruz
Overseas Filipino Worker
Vancouver, Canada

Ruffy Biazon said...

The people of Muntinlupa has passed judgement. I'm re-elected for a thrid time.