The passage of House Resolution 1109 proposing to amend the Constitution is another blow to the already tarnished reputation of the House of Represenatives. It is appalling that the leadership ignored the sentiments of the people which reject moves to amend the constitution at this time. It gives the House the image that it is callous to public opinion and will only give due attention to matters that pertain to its members’ personal and political agenda.
It is also deplorable that in the undue rush to pass the resolution, the House leadership chose to deny members of the House their right to express their positions on such an important measure. The untimely motion to end the debates aborted the interpellation of congressmen who were already lined up to ask questions. At one point, one congressman who rose to ask a parliamentary inquiry was simply ignored, as if the presiding officer was blind and deaf.
I myself was not spared, when I indicated my desire to explain my objection to the motion to approve the resolution. I was denied the right with the threat of simply being ignored like my other colleague.
The “Lone Ranger” Cha-Cha , where the Senate is likewise ignored by the House of Representatives convening itself as a Constituent Assembly, is immoral and smacks of political arrogance in that it practically ignores public opinion, legal advice and processes and institutional courtesy.
The haste with which it was calendared and forced to a vote exemplifies the House’s distorted sense of priorities, with the Cha-Cha resolution edging out important and urgent measures such as the Agrarian Reform Bill. It goes to show that if the leadership really wants a measure passed, it can do so, in contrast to other measures which languished in the legislative mill without meriting the leadership’s attention.
Finally, the viva voce vote on such a significant measure clouded any semblance of transparency, denying the people the knowledge of how their representatives voted on the resolution to amend the constitution. As a result, accountability for their votes is nil, allowing the members of the House to hide under the cloak of anonymity.
Although drowned out by the majority “yes” votes, my “no” vote is one that I will hold myself accountable to, and am proud to say is reflective of my constituents’ sentiments on the matter.