EX-MAJORITY Floor Leader Rolando Andaya’s attempt at dramatics is a foolishly childish adventurism it only invited speculations why he cannot come to terms with Budget Secretary Ben Diokno on the figures which he claimed were insertions made by the former.
He assailed the idea of having P114 billion for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) flood control projects and went on with his careless allegation that Diokno has a favored contractor to undertake the project. What a preposterous notion.
Here in Davao City for example, we urgently need funds to fortify riverbanks and de-silt river beds which had become too shallow due to unimpeded soil erosions thereby causing flood waters to breach through embankments. This is happening now as I write this piece and that makes Andaya’s objections to the world’s typhoon and flood-prone country misplaced if not idiotic.
Some quarters had therefore speculated that Andaya’s attempt to shake the Palace by the Pasig might just be a symptom of some inevitable development. Something that could divert the nation’s wrath on him than make a diluvial issue out of that flood-control budget. Isn’t it a simple truth that whatever figure is proposed, inserted or deleted, at the end of the day it is the Lower Chamber, where he is or was Majority Floor Leader, that has the control and final say?
True to everybody’s hunch as the events unfurled, the Sandiganbayan came out with a denial of his appeal to dismiss the graft charges against him along with the scam queen Janet Napoles et al. Andaya did cease from his verbose innuendos. He took a jab at the Sandiganbayan for setting his arraignment on the 194 cases of graft and malversation cases with a snide “what a timing” remarks. Sandiganbayan presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang gave him a rap on the knuckles for which he profusely apologized later.
Even the heavens conspired against Andaya. A storm ravaged the Bicol regions, inflicting severe damage to crops and claiming several lives on account of floods and erosion. Secretary Diokno who shunned congressional inquiry for having been subjected to a debasing inquisition must have an ally in the heavens to argue his case. It’s like a thunderous rebuke on Andaya like “hey you i**** those flood control projects are badly needed.” The message should resonate to the lonely castle of Vice President Leni Robredo who had criticized Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol for proposing to set aside a budget to de-silt rivers that overflows with a normal rainfall thereby inundating rice farms. Robredo smirked at the idea saying “nakawin lang ang pera dyan.” A statement from a simpleton who happens to be the second most powerful person in the country. She dropped the statement without suggesting an alternative on how river siltations can be addressed.
The Palace Spokesman, Secretary Sal Panelo, did not find Andaya’s diversionary expedition funny. He challenged the latter to just file his charges against Secretary Diokno in court. But I do not think that that will happen now as the heavens had spoken and the Majority Floor Leader had stepped down (or was there a silent coup?). Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro has taken over his post in what was euphemistically described as “term sharing” or to put it rather bluntly, “a graceful exit.”