Thursday, October 12, 2006

An All-Nighter

Its exactly 11:52 PM on the Session Hall Clock. We are doing a marathon session in order to pass the budget of the National Government, starting from 10:00 AM this morning up to God knows what time.

SOme agencies have it easy, some don't. Others spend only less than two minutes on deck, others take hours. The questions range from the foolish to the extremely important. Some of the Congressmen are still wide awake, while some are dozing off in their seats. Some are in the lounge having coffee or snacks, while others are already at home snug in their beds.

It seeems that it will become another all-nighter, a session that goes from one day in the calendar to the next. This usually happens during the plenary debates for the budget, although the two recent impeachment proceedings beat the record for the longest sessions held. When I was a neophyte during my first term, I usually brought a stash of snacks during sessions like these, which I wholeheartedly shared with my seatmates.

Right now, the budget of the Ombudsman is being taken up, with the Minority Leader asking the sponsor to name the top five agencies with the most number of cases filed against them combined with public perception. According to the Ombudsman, the top agency is the Bureau of Customs, followed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, then (not in order) by the Department of Public Works and Highways, Bureau of Immigration and one other agency I failed to get (I'm typing this live as the debates are ongoing).

As we debate on what the government should spend on and how much it will spend, most people are now in a state of bliss in dreamland, not knowing that major decisions affecting their lives and even their futures are being made by tired, half-awake and (at least for a day) overworked men and women. One might wonder if the wisdom of the decisions are not sacrificed under these conditions which are not exactly ideal.

Some people say that they "sleep on a decision", meaning they make the decisions in the morning after, when they have taken a restful shut-eye, to make sure that their decisions are not rushed or flawed.

But in this case, we do have to make this decision in the middle of the night, for we go on recess tomorrow, and will not be back after two weeks. The National Budget has already been reenacted twice due to delays, and failure to act on this one again might cause another reenactment for 2007.

So, just as other important decisions that OCngress has made, most likely we will do it again like a thief in the night, under the coverness of darkness, while everyone is fast asleep.

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