The Philippine Legislature is busted. The floor of the House and Senate are rat-pits of acrimony and showmanship. And really horrible ethics and productivity. I'd recommend young people of the Philippines "duck and cover" rather than study the ways and means of the mud-stuck Senate or pork-motivated House.
Like the courts, which take 25 years to act on some cases, the Legislature cannot seem to get unstuck on any bill where there is objection. The Senate spends its time on the floor, not debating the final points of legislation, but mucking about in detail, fishing for solutions, like so many prosecutors dredging up information on CJ Corona in court rather than out of court.
Evidently there is no staff process, the backroom delegating and dealing that assigns competent staff the role of negotiating agreements on language. The staff appear to be engaged in the plagiarizing and writing of showmanship speeches.
The House is no more encouraging.
You can watch the allegiances of the House membership dance and move as Representatives track like a school of sharks sniffing blood in the water, following the Pork. Patriotism, thy name is peso.
We've beaten and battered Senator Sotto for two weeks, upset at his plagiarism and blame-mongering. But he is still stealing other people's work and claiming it as his own thinking. The latest from the honorable JFK (John F Kennedy). I'm tired of Senator Sotto, our local Lord Voldemort, as a reader so aptly described him.
Think through who he is and what he is doing.
He is the majority leader. He represents the best of the best behind Senate President Enrile who bounces between dignity and partisanship like a government issued yoyo. Alas, the yoyo was issued while the grandfather of self-service in the name of patriotism was still around promoting his morality. That would be President Aguinaldo.
The esteemed Senator Sotto takes four speeches to state his objection to the HR Bill. Four. Over the course of two weeks. He holds court over the Senate, over the press, over the People. He holds court until the HR Bill is set aside.
A one-man wrecking crew.
You and I, if we objected to the HR Bill, could state the objection in 10 minutes. Me, much less.
Here would be my objection speech:
- "Hey, Ladies and Gents of the esteemed maroon Senatorial robe, the Government has no business peddling condoms. And there are laws in place already that protect women's health. We don't need another that will just overlay confusion on our health services. The Executive Office has powers. It has a Department of Education. Use them and let us get on with some important new initiatives. Like the Divorce Bill and FOI Bills and amending the Constitution to speed foreign money into the fuel tank of our economic machine. Let's put this baby up for vote and abort the stinker. Thank you for using your common sense. I yield the floor."
The Senate is so stuck on protocol and process that it can't get the people's work done. It has become an institution that is heading directly toward irrelevancy. Even the Ethics Committee is unethical, refusing to act hold Senator Sotto to higher values.
"Duck and cover, kids. Duck and cover!"
The House, ah, the House. Bright young people, eh? Lots of them, and every damn one of them has two thoughts and two thoughts only: (1) how can I leverage myself into the Presidency, and (2) how can I get more pork money, to leverage myself into the Presidency.
We former business executives recognize the pedigree easily. These are the young, bright people who come into the office looking for a job. Great portfolio, on paper. Impeccable college and work experience. They say all the right things during the interviews. But on the job, they have no discipline. No patience. They are so ambitious that they lose enthusiasm for the work that needs to be done. They can't concentrate on today's output because they are busy dreaming about the next promotion.
That's the House in a nutshell. No enthusiasm for the job that needs to be done. No concentration.
Overly ambitious office workers last about 18 months on the job before quitting and running off in search of greener and faster pastures.
House people also lose enthusiasm and stop showing up at on the floor. Have you seen Colonel Doctor Champ Pacquiao there lately? He's one guy for sure already dreaming of the presidency.
And so they coast.
They bide their time, looking for ways to shine.
My Filipino friends, our Legislature is busted and there is no one here who can fix it. You can't fix a rat's nest or a snake's den or a hornet swarm with a hope and a prayer.
It is best to go around these barriers to progress, these inert democratic irrelevancies, if we hope to achieve anything progressive.
More on that later.
More on that later.