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House of Rips

 

BY JOHNNY DAYANG

 

 

ecf echoes from johnny dayang

The overarching investigations launched by Congress in recent months, notwithstanding the devastation the pandemic has wrought in our national healthcare system, has earned the lower chamber the moniker of ‘House of Rips.’

The rip-roaring probes, from the ABS-CBN franchise to the PhilHealth scandal, have kept the nation on the edge. Despite the controversies that hounded its image, Congress, for a moment, has redeemed a fraction of what it had lost in terms of integrity.

But things are not as smooth as some of the House members project the lower chamber to be. In the debate of the Bayanihan 2 bill which the President recently signed, the House, almost to the point of bringing in the guns, defended its version of the legislative undertaking. This was further highlighted when the congressmen bitterly pushed the approval of P10 billion for tourism road construction, something quite odd at a time when vaccines and personal protective equipment are the most urgent calls.

It does not need a rocket scientist to understand why such idiotic proposal was pushed. In the mind of the common tao, there was no doubt the tourism infrastructure budget introduced in a pandemic bill has something to do with bribes. Only the insistence of Senate, which yielded a tenth of the original outlay to appease the House demigods, saved the day for Filipinos.

The irony about this wayward infra appropriation is that the government, already saddled with a debt that is close to P10 trillion, will have to borrow more money to fund the Bayanihan 2 law. Which means, despite the financial hardships the country is facing, so called ‘honorable’ House legislators did not listen to public sentiment.

Historically, some lawmakers in the House of Rips, when the debate comes close to removing contrived pork barrel allocations, tear each other up and unabashedly expose their hidden agenda. When people in ‘upright status’ start ripping colleagues in the fight to get their share in commissions, things can go from vile to appalling.

Just over a week ago, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, in a statement that contradicts his claim that the House is independent of any extraneous influence, made a jarring declaration that instead of standing by the term-sharing agreed upon with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, he would yield the decision of any takeover to the wishes of the Palace.

In short, the speaker, who has yet to explain the circumstances surrounding the explosive and expensive cauldron used during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, is now admitting that the House of Rips, by discarding its supposed independence, is actually a vassal of the Executive.

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