Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Obvious Stupidity of Congress that Nobody Cared About (Until now)

A while ago, I am watching the hearing of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability chaired by Hon. Oscar S. Rodriguez on the MRT scam with the newly resigned MRT General Manager Al Vitangcol III as resource person.  Once again, I cannot help but feel mixed anger and amusement while watching the proceedings.  Actually, I am waiting for a smart aleck resource person to make the statement that I am waiting to say if ever my time comes to be in the hot seat.  Unfortunately, nobody dared yet.

What is my beef this time?  I am not an expert in law nor I will pretend to be one so I will not cite jurisprudence or written references to support my argument but rather, use common sense as basis and I hope that I can sway you on my side.

It had to be borne in mind that Congress holds public hearings in aid of legislation.  The resource persons are exactly like that:  resource persons.  It is presumed that they are invited to the hearing as expert witnesses who have the information that the legislators need in crafting whatever law they intend to make.  SO WHY IS IT THAT RODRIGUEZ WAS BADGERING VITANGCOL AND ACCUSING HIM OF LYING?  (Make no mistake about it, I am not about to defend Vitangcol.  In fact I believe the ambassador more than his denial.  For this I think he should go to jail).  For several times, Rodriguez even reminded Vitangcol that the latter is under oath, implying that he can be held under arrest just like what other congressmen had done in the past against witnesses who they accused of lying.

Here is my beef:  Is it not that the proceedings are in aid of legislation and that they are conducting the hearing to extract new information from the resource persons that may be useful to whatever law that they will craft after the hearings?  Now, if the honorable congressmen already know the answers (because how can you accuse someone of lying if you yourself do not know the truth?), what is the use of the hearings?  They already have the information so the hearings then are a pure waste of taxpayer’s money.

Most importantly, is it not that proceedings in Congress are covered by parliamentary immunity?  This basic principle ensures that debate and discourse on the floor are not shackled by law, except those covering proper decorum.  So, if members are extended this privilege, why it cannot be extended to resource persons?  They are in the same proceedings for crissake.  What is sauce for the gander is also sauce for the goose, di ba?

If this happens to me in the future and a congressman accuses me of lying in a congressional inquiry, this is what I will say:

“Your honors, you invited me to this hearing as a resource person.  I assume that by definition of a resource person, you need me here because you believe that I have information that you do not have yet and this information is useful for you in crafting new laws.  But it appears that you already know everything, there is nothing new in what I say, and that you do not believe some of the things that I said.  Worst, you are even accusing me of lying.  So your honors, will you please excuse me, I have nothing to offer to you as a resource person.  Bye!”

So will they throw me in jail?  On what grounds?  Remember, in the laws of the Philippines, there is only one rule covering the arrest of a person without a warrant:  Rule 113 of the Rules of Court and this law I know by heart.  What about those arrest warrants being sent out in the past by these stupid congressmen?  I am sure as hell that I can challenge those for being unconstitutional!  No matter how many times I read the Constitution, I cannot find a provision that states that Congress has the power to arrest or discipline the general public.  For their members, yes, but for the general public?  Only the Courts can do that!  If Congress made internal rules that allow their members to do that, then it has to be challenged in Court!

Or in the streets...

Or I could be wrong.  Please send your comments!

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