Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Delivering Stories of Progress


FIRING LINE: Reason to be worried

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Okada Manila
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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

I called it when I saw it. The ambush on Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. that left him wounded and four of his guards dead was a prelude to big trouble erupting in terms of peace, order, and security.

Adiong is a man of peace with a vision toward progress. He was not one to make enemies. So, an attack on him in a politically young autonomous region was more of a test and challenge to the Marcos administration, its national security policy, and peace and order capabilities.

Just a couple of days after Adiong’s ambush, Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda of Aparri, Cagayan, was killed with five others in an attack by shooters in Nueva Ecija. A few days later, Mayor Ohto Montawal of Datu Montawal, Maguindanao del Sur, was wounded in an ambush in Pasay City.

Now, Speaker Martin Romualdez is worried about the security of the members of his Chamber. Given his cousin the President’s grasp of order and security… yes, he has a reason to be worried.

Cha-cha numbers

Charter change is not so much a big deal in the Senate for several reasons still incomprehensible to its main proponent, Sen. Robinhood Padilla.

Interestingly, Padilla claims half of the roster of senators are well behind his move, namely, fellow PDP-Laban stalwarts Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Christopher “Bong” Go, and Francis Tolentino; mother-and-son Cynthia and Mark Villar; showbiz buddies Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Lito Lapid; minority duo Koko Pimentel and Risa Hontiveros; and Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian. 

None of them, though, except for Dela Rosa, has verbally backed him up on his “mission impossible.” And Senate President Migz Zubiri, who has a hyper sense of the majority and the Chief Executive, has all but dismissed the probability of passing it at the plenary. 

 It seems Padilla suffers from gross insensitivity to the pleasure of the whole, just as he is hypersensitive to any issue displeasing to his ego and religion.

 Abolishing the party-list 

Even Dela Rosa was unenthusiastic about herding 18 senators behind the Cha-cha bill. But if the Constitution bursts open to amendments by a stroke of miracle, he said he would want to abolish the party-list system for redundancy in congressional representation.

Last Sunday, Padilla agreed that Congress should do away with party-list groups and strengthen the party system instead. In this regard, I will find myself agreeing with these “Duterte boys” in Congress for the first time.

My biggest problem with the party-list route to Congress is that none of the marginalized sectors – farmers and fisherfolk, the urban poor, labor, and the like – are actually represented. Instead, we have Leftist ideologies put forth in the guise of sectoral representation. We have oligarchs, political dynasties, and nonsense showbiz or social media personalities occupying congressional seats for causes and people whose interests hardly resonate in the bills they file or the laws they vote to approve.

And their numbers in the House of Representatives have been growing as a bloc often coerced for grand political gains, none benefiting the Filipino people. Yet they are all paid with our tax money.

Principles from vigilance against false accusations to serving the public interest and standing by the integrity of our judicial system can be found in their fortified arguments against the ICC probe. But there is also no disclaimer in any of these resolutions that Arroyo, Padilla, or Estrada were beneficiaries of political favor from Duterte when he was President.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at

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