Confused (still)

2

Written on 8:42 PM by isko b. doo

Administration congressmen made good on their promise to bury any attempts to unseat President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with yesterday’s approval of the committee on justice report by 36 votes to 0 junking the impeachment complaint for insufficiency in substance.

The approval came as no surprise since days before, the President’s allies have trumpeted the bungled attempts of the opposition to come up with the necessary number of signatures to send the complaint to Senate. Majority Floor Leader Prospero Nograles even virtually assured the death of the impeachment bid so the House could turn its attention to the issue of Charter change.

The zero votes do not necessarily mean that the approval came with no resistance. It was, in fact, the upshot of the protest action of the minority members when they refused to participate in the voting after accusing the majority of railroading the approval of the report.

Deputy Minority Floor Leader Roilo Golez claimed said the President’s allies bulldozed the impeachment complaint by approving in principle the report on a motion by committee vice chair Eastern Samar Representative Marcelino Libanan.

The approval snubbed their earlier agreement to deliberate on the report “page by page” which would have given the chance for opposition members to introduce some amendments.

Among the violations cited by the opposition were: the failure of the body to provide each member with a copy of the report three days before the meeting and the approval of the report in principle even without the copy of the report itself.

If the allegations are true, the opposition could file a protest using the legal channels requesting to junk the report on technicality but who would listen? The President has the numbers and democracy, after all, is nothing but the tyranny of the majority.

Of course, we don’t expect the issue to be buried along with the report. In the next few days, we expect to see opposition members to bring the matter in the court of public opinion. We expect them to make noise over how the administration officials bullied their way into stifling dissent.

In like manner, we also anticipate seeing administration officials being magnanimous in victory by offering the hand of reconciliation to the opposition. We expect Malacañang to ask the public to move on towards better things like changing the Constitution and the realization of its “super regions.”

What we don’t presume to get, however, are answers. The President, despite promising to answer questions on the controversy once the excitement dies down after her “I’m Sorry” speech, chose to remain silent. The second impeachment bid is dead and the public is as confused as ever.

If administration congressmen feel that they are doing the President and the public a favor by killing the complaint, they are sadly mistaken. Unfortunately for us all, the country could not get past this issue. It could not move forward, not by a long shot.

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