A greater tragedy
Rep. Roilo Golez (Parañaque) is asking House Speaker Jose de Venecia and his gang to postpone by at least a week deliberations on Cha-Cha in deference to the calamity caused by typhoon “Reming.”
Golez said, “It would be the height of insensitivity and callousness to discuss Cha-Cha while hundreds of thousands have been dislocated and mourning their dead or looking for heir missing loved ones amidst the debris and mudflow.
“It would be in very poor, terrible taste to discuss Cha-Cha while a huge fraction of the nation are in pain and anguish. We should have a moratorium on Cha-Cha for a week,” he added.
Golez further said, “The statesmanship and patriotism of the House leadership are now put to a test.”
He proposed that a supplemental budget be passed for Reming’s victims similar to the one the House approved for the victims of the Guimaras oil spill.
Five days after super typhoon “Reming” hit the Bicol region, the number of those who perished continues to escalate. Sen. Richard Gordon, head of the Philippine National Red Cross, there are over a thousand persons missing and they could be buried under the mudflows that now cover 17 barangays (villages) near Mayon Volcano.
Albay disaster officials can only say “overwhelming phonemenon” to the tragedy that caught them flatfooted. Mud and rocks that flowed and rolled down from Mayon Vocano at the height of the typhoon were part of the massive volume of volcanic debris – estimated at 140 million cubic meters –deposited on the volcano’s slopes by its series of eruptions.
Weather specialists said the 446 mm of rainfall dumped by “Reming” surpassed the 370 mm poured by a 2004 typhoon that hit the towns of Infanta and real in Quezon in 2004 which also claimed hundreds of lives and damaged properties worth millions of pesos.
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal was quoted in a newspaper report that they expected the flood and mudflows to follow the course of the river. Instead the mudflow descended on the villages burying the barangays’ population in their houses.
As survivors search for their relatives from the pile of corpses and bury their dead in mass graves, Mayor Rosal could only say, “Something must be really wrong.”
Rosal was referring to the unexpected path of the mudflow that devastated his people but his statement might as well apply to the priority of De Venecia and his gang who want to change the Constitution before the Christmas holidays by hook or by crook.
Today, De Venecia’s gang is expected to approve the motion of Rep. Arthur Defensor (Iloilo, 3rd district) to amend Section 105 of the House Rules that says resolutions o amend or revise the Constitution shall follow the procedure for the enactment of bills, that means approval of the Senate.
Defensor’s motion is to change the rule so that the House can proceed with amending the Constitution without the Senate on Wednesday (Dec. 6). This coincides with the retirement of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban the next day, Dec. 7.
De Venecia said he expects a new Constitution that would change the system of government from presidential to parliamentary approved by his Senate-less Con-Ass on Dec. 12 so that it could be “approved” by the people in a plebiscite on Feb. 12, 2007.
The Senate is expected to question the legality of De Venecia’s Con-Ass Express. Sen. Franklin Drilon, who is opposed to changing the Constitution now, warned that with the retirement of Panganiban, the Supreme Court might not be able to issue a temporary restraining order on the JDV’s Con-ass because, if we are to base the voting on the People’s Initiative, a 7-7 split is possible.
JDV and his gang, with Gloria Arroyo’s encouragement, are probably thinking that with the people now in a Christmas mood, no serious protest actions would take place. People are busy doing their Christmas shopping they would have no time to plan to overthrow Gloria Arroyo. By the time January next year, it would be too late to change the course of Cha-Cha.
Golez is mistaken if he thinks the calamity caused by typhoon “Reming” would touch the conscience of his colleagues who will be riding JDV’s Cha-Cha Express (including Bicol congressmen Luis Villafuerte, Edcel Lagman, Joey Salceda).
What they are plotting is a greater tragedy for the Filipino people.