Not my privilege

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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Thursday, June 19, 2014


IT IS a privilege to speak, more so when you are in a position that grants your voice enhanced volume and reach. Politicians enjoy such privilege because in theory their voices represent their constituents, and they speak for their interests and their aspirations.

There have been many remarkable opportunities where the privilege speech has been used to a potent and important history changing extent. Expose’s against former president Estrada care of then congressman Teofisto Guingona opened up the can of worms that will lead to the pressuring of his resignation via a chain of events.

Panfilo Lacson gave a privilege speech alleging then First Gentleman Mike Arroyo on the infamous “Jose Pidal” accounts.

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The last I felt the privilege speech was use of its perceived noblest extent was the resignation of then Senator Miguel Zubiri, though allegedly caught on an electoral case with Senator Koko Pimentel, resignations are a rare case in our Senate, and so rare I can barely recall the last one that really stepped down out of reasons like politics.

The latest display of the use of the privilege speech has been nothing but history changing, nor was it well meant. Senator Bong Revilla facing now apparent plunder charges used his time not to deny guilt through substantive evidence, but to simply appeal to the simpleton using broad words like “Truth” or “light”, or even using “God as my witness”. These are casual expressions that I dare say do not deserve the space for privilege speeches, if anything the real measure of a privilege is if it adds value to the discussion, but Senator Revilla simply turned this opportunity and sent us viewers to the doldrums.

The space for Philippine political theatre may I dare say has dumbed down, I remember politicians of the olden times to be excellent and fluent orators – perhaps only in mere books could I have ever experienced those, but our generation has been robbed of such timely and purposeful orations from our leaders.

This is not elitism, the fluency here is not about English, but it is about principle and the values being thrown in the ring of politics, I guess all I see in today’s privilege speeches are empty lines recited and memorized. This is not an attack against the actor, but an attack against his script, if Senator Revilla believes he can persuade people with that speech, and with that horrible song. It says more about his perception of us, than it is about him.

A privilege is given out to those who can at least improve the degree of discourse; there is a reason why so much room for immunity against anything that may restrain or shackle the truth is dispensed during a privilege speech. That my dear friends were not used that day, and all we got in the end was an awful song.

Bravo!

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 19, 2014.

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