A FEW strokes before midnight last June 2, the dominant tenants of the House of Representatives once more submitted to their nocturnal incantations, morphing into heedless beasts of gore and horror as their parliamentary fangs savagely ripped apart the flesh of the body politic.

By dawn, the ghouls of the lower chamber had returned to their statesmen-like disguise, yet burping incessantly from yester-night’s impish power bacchanalia.

Behold the so-called House of Representatives, whose 170 members from the majority bloc are again salivating on the rotting carcass of charter change through the graveyard-timed passage of House Resolution (HR) 1109, which seeks to convene Congress as a constituent assembly for the purpose of amending the Constitution “to be able to finally put an end to the perpetual conflict on the legal interpretation of how to amend the charter by way of constituent assembly,” if we are to believe Speaker Prospero Nograles.

Surrounded by the proverbial torching mob, Nograles instinctively rushed to the defense of his forsaken ilk’s “constituent” monstrosity, even going as far as proclaiming his readiness to “face public scorn for acting decisively” on HR 1109. He proudly bawled: “Even the best legal minds in our country today don’t have a single legal position on how to amend the Constitution through constituent assembly, which is one of the modes of amending the Constitution. I’m prepared to bite the bullet and face public scorn if only to convince the Supreme Court that it should now step in and make a clear interpretation of this particular provision of our Constitution.”

UST High retains old school calendar

As it appears, the lower house is conveniently baiting the Supreme Court to shield its ignorance over an alleged constituent function it obliviously espouses. What can be more dismaying to note, given the politics-as-usual notoriety of the House majority is that HR 1109 could be a tacit ploy by its proponents to solicit ideas, nay plots from the high tribunal as to how to go about rewriting the Constitution – sans the 24-member Senate, which Nograles declared “should not be allowed to hold hostage a collective decision of the 250-member House elected under defined constituencies.” Such brazen hoodwinking of the Supreme Court to justify HR 1109 in effect will compel the justices (majority of whom are President Macapagal-Arroyo’s appointee) to fry themselves in their own fat. The ruse comes unsurprisingly from a House leadership that has mastered the art of eluding the Grim Reaper through legal obfuscation.

Meanwhile, the lower house, in booting the opposition-dominated Senate out of the equation, is employing a naked show of force through majoritarian fiat to impress upon the public that it is the legislative alpha and omega, let alone the immortal stakeholder of this country’s political future.

Yet while it is true that the resolution bars all elected officials whose terms will expire next year from office extension, the latter is merely a poltergeist provision because it is, as Paranaque Rep. Roilo Golez puts it, “not binding.”

But let us assume that there will be elections come 2010 as what administration allies in the lower house insist.

As the election scenario gradually unfolds, no less than the President herself has sent feelers of joining the 2010 polls as a congressional candidate in her home province. (Agrarian Reform secretary Nasser Pangandaman confirmed this in a Philippine Daily Inquirer report last June 13.)

Mothering a child's development

“This should allay the fears of the opposition about the no-election scenario,” Pangandaman said, adding that the President had nothing to do with the plan of her allies in the House to convene a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution. He said the President herself was not in favor of Charter change under her administration.

Good, but a cursory reading of this statement conjures a scene of calculated treachery, with the President discreetly ordering his lackeys in the House to set the tables first before she formally dines in as the newest, yet most influential, congressional contessa.

While there is a kernel of truth in Pangandaman’s assurance that the President never had a hand in crafting, either mechanically or motivationally, the resolution, it follows that as the self-proclaimed “mother” of this country, she should have directed her House minions to abandon the thought and instead devote their energies in passing priority bills with some sense of urgency.

But so far, the President remains mum. She seems to be moving in the same manner a walking corpse does when catching and inevitably feasting on its prey.


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