Espina: The Ignominious Seven

One Man’s Opinion

IGNOMINIOUS: adjective ig•no•min•i•ous ?ig-n?-?mi-n?-?s

1. marked with or characterized by disgrace or shame : dishonorable

2. deserving of shame or infamy: despicable

3. humiliating, degrading


I present to you Negros Occidental’s very own Ignominious Seven:

1. Greg Gasataya (Bacolod City)

2. Melecio Yap Jr. (First District)

3. Leo Cueva (Second District)

4. Alfredo Benitez (Third District)

5. Alejandro Mirasol (Fifth District)

6. Mercedes Alvarez (Sixth District)

7. Stephen Joseph Paduano (Abang Lingkod party-list)

Each and every one of them as worthy of the epithet as all the other members of the aptly named Lower House who voted to replace an admittedly bad Speaker with an even worse one, one who plotted and cheated her way to power then presided over one of the most kleptocratic presidencies since the Marcos dictatorship.

In fact, I – and everyone who cares for good governance, accountability and, what the hell, just plain decency should as well – should stop calling them representatives because their vote surely did not represent a huge chunk of the population who still cringe in pain remembering those nine years of the fertilizer fund scam, “Hello Garci,” ZTE-NBN, “cash in a bag,” among so many sordid acts of epic thievery, not to mention her own share of bloody mayhem – many of these courtesy of her favorite butcher, who she even praised during one SONA; and of course, the Ampatuan massacre, which claimed 58 lives, 32 of these media workers, courtesy of her favorite political allies at the time – that helped perpetuate the culture of impunity in these benighted isles.

Representative Juliet Marie Ferrer of the Fourth District earns the benefit of the doubt, of course, as she was on official leave and therefore could not vote.

I will not dwell on whether the ascension to Speaker of Gloria Arroyo is good for a bad president or not, whether she will help prop up his clearly weakening reign or turn on him as she did Erap Estrada. Either way, it is bad and will surely become worse for the Filipino people, especially if it ends up being a Marcos-Arroyo-Duterte triumvirate. Chalk up another, probably even more urgent, a reason to reject Charter change and federalism.

And the Ignominious Seven, who are supposed to represent OUR interests, helped make it happen.

If I could hex them, it would be for them to go to sleep each night only to be jolted back to wakefulness by ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio’s enraged cry – “Mahiya naman kayoooooooooo ...!!!!!” – during Wednesday’s railroading of House Resolution 2025 to force into the House records the results of the voting that elevated her. Again, and again, and again, and again... that, methinks, would be a fitting fate, to be haunted by the voice of truly righteous anger.

Because, as Tonchi observed, her election as Speaker could be as valid as her 2004 presidential victory. As he points out, the resolution “is a blatant admission on the part of the Arroyo camp that the said elections were not part of the official proceedings of the House as required by the Constitution” and “a crude attempt to cure this fatal infirmity.”

Thus, he said: “Not once, but twice, a cloud of doubt hangs over the legitimacy of Gloria Arroyo's assumption to high office: as President in 2004, and now as Speaker of the House.”

Then again, with a president who has practically suspended the rule of law, does it even matter?

It will if we, the people, decide it does.

And I pray this does not end up just one man’s opinion.


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