The Volatilian™ View

A Senate allegory

Philippine Senate Chamber

We’d like to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a school – a small kindergarten actually; just 23 pupils. It was an exclusive place, reserved mostly for the spoiled and pampered children of privileged families. However, the school prided itself on its rules of etiquette – it believed they were what set it apart from other schools.

Among those rules was one stating that each pupil, on his or her birthday, should personally invite the remaining 22 schoolmates to a celebration which would be held in the school hall. The rule stipulated that the invitations should be written out and handed personally by the birthday celebrant to each of the other children. The rule had two purposes: the first was to teach courtesy; the second was to promote inclusion – two difficult concepts for the precious offspring of the privileged.

Indeed, despite the small number of select pupils in that school – and despite that school’s emphasis on decorum – some possessed a proclivity for elitism. These particular children formed themselves into cliques with the intention of establishing their members’ superiority over the other children.

It was from one such clique that a particularly hubristic, spiteful child, on her birthday, decided that she’d exclude some of her fellow pupils from her party. These were kids she didn’t get along with; didn’t like. They were difficult. They were inferior in some way; yet they’d failed to acknowledge that fact.

Of course, she knew she couldn’t just flaunt the rule – if she did that she’d be reprimanded and stood the risk of being humiliated. And anyway, what she really wanted was for those she intended to exclude to be cast in a bad light; theirs should be the humiliation.

So she came up with a plan. She would write out the 22 invitations as the rule prescribed and the ones intended for those she wanted to attend she’d hand out personally and promptly, giving them plenty of time to respond. The other invitations – for the ones she’d chosen to exclude from the celebration – she’d place inside each of their desks, knowing they wouldn’t see them until the party was over.

At the party she’d express her sadness and disappointment that some of her fellow pupils had chosen not to turn up and join in. And if later, the shunned pupils claimed that the reason they hadn’t attended was because they hadn’t received their invitations by hand, she would say that she’d looked everywhere for them and as a last resort had placed them in their desks expecting that they’d find them in good time.

Indeed, she’d point out, she’d even passed the invitation to one child – a favourite of her clique – who was presently in the sick bay. She, of course couldn’t make it to the party in person, but at least she’d managed to respond by sending her best wishes. In short, she’d done all she could to make sure everyone was invited.

And so she executed her plan and gained the sympathy of those who’d attended for being shunned by those who hadn’t. But the girl had other child friends outside that school and when they learned how she’d been treated, they became angry and took that anger into cyberspace – vilifying those for not going to the party and portraying them in the darkest and vilest ways they could.

Naturally, the child denied all knowledge of that – in fact, she appeared concerned and upset that the children, her fellow pupils who’d slighted her by ignoring her birthday could be treated in such a way. But it was none of her doing and beyond her control. And for that she distinguished herself as a fine example of tolerance and understanding – two more qualities which the school prided itself on.

The story of a selfish child then? Maybe, but it could be more than that; a fable perhaps?

On Monday, 16 members of the 23-member Philippine Senate (photo) signed a resolution which drew attention to the “alarming spike” in the “senseless killings” of children. It was tagged to the recent deaths, at the hands of the police, of two teenagers caught up somehow in the administration’s War on Drugs – and senators took part to show that they stood square with the people by officially registering their condemnation.

They issued the innocuously sounding Senate Resolution 516 which pressed the government to conduct an investigation into the deaths of the teenagers, and other children who’ve been killed in the ongoing ant-narcotics campaign. Further, it urged the government to lay out the steps it’s taken to prevent further such killings.

These two teenage deaths, more than any other, had created a public backlash against both the police and the government’s anti-drugs campaign. And so it wasn’t surprising that public anger mounted when it became know that seven members of the Senate – Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, and senators, Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Manny Pacquiao and Gregorio Honasan – had not put their names to a resolution that criticised those killings.

Given the emotiveness of the issue, Resolution 516 was guaranteed to gain public support – admiration even. The converse was also practically guaranteed – that anyone not supporting such a motion would likely be demonised on the spot. And that’s what happened.

As news came out that seven senators had failed to sign the bill, social media went into overdrive castigating them with a barrage of defamatory slurs. One particularly vile blog described the seven as “Malacañang dogs in the Senate” – meaning they’d opted out of voting in some blind loyalty for the president’s drugs war. Malacañang is the name of the presidential palace.

The problem is, all that turned out to be spurious; for later it was revealed that the seven non-signing senators had not been given the opportunity to either read or study the resolution. Furthermore, they’d never been asked to sign it.

The motion had been prepared by Liberal Party stalwart, Francis Pangilinan – but he’d neglected to pass it to every member of the chamber. In the cases of the seven senators – who just happen to be supportive of the administration and, as such, regarded as political opponents as far as the Liberals and their political affiliates are concerned – it had simply been left on their desks. There had been, apparently, no urgency attached to it.

There’s no question that it was odd they hadn’t been encouraged to sign or even been made aware of the resolution’s content for that matter. But what’s even stranger is that Senator Leila De Lima – the Liberal Party’s top anti-Duterteist rottweiler – had managed to attach her signature to the resolution and she was 12 miles away from the Senate building. She was in custody for alleged drugs-profiteering and being held at the Philippine National Police headquarters of Camp Crame in Quezon City. Somehow though, Pangilinan had managed to bring it to her attention. It hadn’t been simply dropped on her desk.

Once it became clear to the seven senators what had happened – that effectively they’d been excluded from taking part in the resolution – they too became angry; for the omission of their signatures had alienated them from the people. They’d been made to look like they were insensitive to what’s become a very emotive issue. Furthermore, they’d been made a target of public anger and vilified across the Internet.

Majority Leader Sotto said this in remarks he directed to Senate President Pimentel, who was also among the seven non-signatories: “Somebody used this to put us in a bad light. I will request you to direct [the] Senate secretariat to investigate who’s behind prostituting this resolution”.

Meanwhile, claiming that he and the others were “not allowed to sign” the resolution, Senator Gordon said this: “It’s the failure of Pangilinan to take the time and address this very controversial [issue]. This is something we could have all signed”. And while Sotto stated that he’s “never seen the shadow of this resolution. It was not routed to me”, Senator Villar added: “I, together with other senators, were [sic] not asked to sign. We did not refuse”.

For his part, Pangilinan apologised for any hurt feelings that had resulted, but stipulated that there had been no intention to exclude the seven senators. “We did not intentionally exclude anyone,” he said.

The fact that they all happened to be close allies of Duterte, apparently, was nothing more than a coincidence. Just the showing up of incredibly long odds. No longer however than all six members of the minority bloc – exclusively the Liberals and their allies; among them De Lima – being put in the loop to receive the petition.

But anyway, as Pangilinan pointed out, “the need to re-route to everyone is not covered in our rules. As long as we get the majority it would be fine”. He even mentioned precedents where this had happened before in the Senate. So, as far as Pangilinan was concerned it was no big deal.

Well, perhaps it would be fine as far as the paperwork is concerned, but that leaves the matter of the optics. Would it have been equally fine if this resolution had been tabled by Gordon or Sotto and they’d failed to route it to the six members of the oppositionist minority bloc comprising Liberal Party members and their fellow travellers?

And if some nutter on the Internet had picked up on that and lambasted them as rapists and lapdogs – the thrust of accusations leveled against the seven by anti-Duterte hate-blog, ‘Silent No More PH’ – presumably they would just take that in their stride.

As Pangilinan explained in the current debacle, social media – in this case, anti-Duterte bloggers – are beyond their control. That’s senate-speak for saying ‘our hands are clean’. In other words, he accepts no responsibility for the invidious position he had placed his colleagues in.

The Liberals apparently have zero influence over their soc-med supporters; no way of reining them in. Maybe they don’t but they do have the power to publicly condemn them for making false and defamatory statements about their fellow senators – though we reckon we’ll be waiting some time before we see them issuing something like that.

Meanwhile, as the rumpus starts to subside – as it becomes more apparent that this coin has two sides – separately, the seven excluded senators filed their own resolution echoing precisely the same sentiments of Resolution 516. That new resolution, however, fared better than its predecessor gaining 17 signatures in its favour. The six who didn’t put their names to it were – not so oddly – the six members of the minority bloc who this time found themselves excluded from contributing.

60 Comments

  • The oldest university in the Philippines was established by Vatican Inquisition and managed by Friars! We are still slaves of the Religious Institutions until now! Ascendancy of students to being politicians came from the fraternal orders of church leaders, which we glorify as Divine messengers of imaginary Supreme being in the sky! No one dared question the authority of their Hierarchy in governments!

    • Ricardo Mendoza just trying to give a better perspective over all, why majority of our politicians are acting like mad dogs in Congress! One track minded legislators. The indoctrinated sheeples of religious fraternal order! “Shadow government” of the Philippines since inqusition! Look at the system, not personalities! We are part of colonized countries in the world! Understand your history! It all boils down to being slave of colonialism! True freedom is not served on a silver platter, by conquerors! That’s the illussions of Free Will only, among governments and citizens! WAKE UP!

    • can you skip with your atheist bullshit. that nothing to do with the article. you maybe right with your opinion about this government, but to say that people belive in an imaginary being in the sky, well to me it’s bullshit.

  • Maybe It is time for us to fraw the line, if these LP nembers are playing treachery! manipulating situations and outright propaganda maybe we should also play the game. We the majority will sign a petition for the implementation for nationwide martial law and round up these traitors in jail. Whatever you do, the public will soon discover your malicious plans and ut will only anger the supporters of Pres. Duterte. You are forming a tamed animal in the corner and you know what will happen? It will fight back. CALLING ALL DUTERTE SUPPORTERS !!!! IT IS TIME TO FIGHT AND GO TO THE STREETS!!! ORGANIZE AND LET US SHOW THESE MANIPULATIVE, TREACHEROUS AND MALICIOUS POLITICIANS THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. IT IS TIME TO RISE AND SHOW OUR FORCE!!!!
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK

    • Yes lets act together bring down the arrogant, disrespectful Senators who are traitors to our constitution, who has no resoect for the rule of law and no Good Manners and Right Conduct. Let us remove the LP Senators who always create troubles in the Senate.

    • yes fightback let us show our honest support to our duterte administration ang gugulo ng mga LP gusto tlg nilang ipaikot n nmn ang ulo ng sambayang pilipino kawawa tlg tayo kung hindi tayo kikilos ngayon pr s mga younger generation

  • True and since time immemorial, even during Jesus crucifixion, the hands of Pharisees were stained by HIS blood. And so it is today, they still play a major part of our politics because we allow it in some measure out of respect and belief that they are decent and good.
    However, social media has uncovered the veil of secrecy and have opened the eyes of the great majority.
    We the majority will not allow that our will shall be ignored.
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK
    FIGHT BACK

  • It is very saddening to see how criminals managed to be admitted in this exclusive school,Volatilian. They destroyed this former august body where brilliant senators in the likes of CM Recto, Jose W Diokno clashed with other intelligent Nestors over the future of this country. Gone were the glorious moments and the feudal etiquettes that made this august institution exceptional. What we have now is a Kindergarten where a bully named Trillanes dictates the rule and throws tantrums when somebody opposes him. Not to mention other egoistic kids whose main agenda is to fill their school backpacks with ‘nutribuns’ and protect their vested interests. God save us from these horrible Kindergarten!

    • People who will always remain kids who just have grown taller..
      And if you ask me of other Senators,why,where have you been all these times that you have to be schooled again and again on what are lies and not or mere cliquish propagandas.Unless perhaps one’s blindspots are as worst as the nihilist partisan Senators.Beyond the fray the opposition is covering up something sinister,some gold or assassination plot,let’s cut the crap,cause we barely have time b4 it’s mayhem & total chaos.We’re living in a very precarious and relatively & historically, dangerous time.

  • Evil people are motivated by the “Seven Deadly Sins” and are bent on pursuing whatever their motives are even at the destruction of their own ‘homes’. They are not distinguished by their ‘robes’ as even the Senate and the Church are no exemptions.

  • There oughta be a law disallowing convicted rebels even if they are pardoned, to seek any elective position. Look at what is happening to the Senate when a goon is turned loose, doesn’t care about evidence and rules. Na tri Trilliling ang Senado.

  • Mga contra EJK sample lang yan na ang mga school pinamamahalaan ng mga Pari ang Santo Tomas ngayon ano ang ginagawa nyo para sa mgs pari na kung saan ang frat na Juris ay andyan sa Santo Tomas ..Mga CHR ano na ang pagkamatay dahil sa hazing.. May nagawa na ba kayo ?

  • Ngayon malinaw ang bad faith ni sen kiko…and the other opposition senators.. Masama ang mga intention ninyo sa kapwa senador ninyo.. Tandaan yang mga senators like sen kiko pangilinan na masama ang ginawa sa kapwa mga senador niya.

  • This is Senate no more…this is an asylum for mentally retarded individuals who wants to become the President of the Philippines. Buti na lang nauso ang media coverage ng Senado at CONGRESS. At least kita mo na kung ano laman ng utak ng mga naririto.

  • This time the majority will have it tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye! Evil Senator Pangilinan will have a taste of his own medicine. We are waiting for something to come up and will pounce on you mercilessly in our own battlefield – the social media!

  • wow ganid sakim sa kapangyarihan, bakit d nakikita ang bansa natin sa mga taong tulad nanyan sa senado,
    ang punto ko kung totoong nagtratrabaho sila sana d sila nag aaway2x..
    kaya sinabe koGANID AT SAKIM SA KAPANGYARIHAN NANDYAN SA SENADO..

  • You’re so bad, kiko cuneta! Sharon, please order your second husband to lie on the table, face down and pants lowered down to his knees, and whack his butt with a paddle, like one used in hazing, as many as ten times!

  • Ganito talaga ang divided house. Kahit nga sa bahay kapag di acquainted o alam mo na ang kapatid mo di mo makukuha bina by pass…kahit tatay na alam mong galit, dideretso ka na lang sa nanay mo….iyan ang mentalidad ng mga insecured…even during the time of Ninoy…he was insecured to FEM kaya nagmaniobra rin …common iyan kaya wag magtiwala, mapagmatyag para sa bansa..

  • Opps,I graduated from an old religious institution but I never wàs brainwashed nor taught about disrespect. I believe it depends on how a person practices whatever he learns from school. Besides, the home plays a greater role in the individual’s formation as it is from there where virtues are taught and infused. There are graduates from government institutions who became so corrupt later. Can we attribute their vices to where they acquired their degrees?

  • YES WE HAVE TO FIGHT BACK LET US PROTECT OUR PRESIDENT OF ALL CAUSE !
    RESPECT OUR DEAREST PRES RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE GENUINE AND ELECTED BY MORE THAN 21 MILLIONS FILIPINO CITIZEN AROUND THE WORLD
    YES YES YES FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT

  • The senate started to become a circus during the purging of Corona, the P50M bribe for each senator who voted to oust the SCJ using the unconstitutional DAP, installed an ally in order to protect the party and its so called “legacy”

  • This latest circus orchestrated by the yellow army in the senate is very revolting. I wish it is already 2019 election so that i could exercise my fundamental right not to vote these fu@@@@ idiots in the Senate to redeem the Senate long lost glorious image and integrity.

  • The senate became a bullyish source of income for tv networks starting from the ugly proceedings against Erap Estrada. Now it is an unruly place showcasing megalomanic members. It has become an ugly reality show that borders balooned to lunatic proportions.

  • Too much enjoyment of good and beautiful has blurred the vision of Pangilinan and cohorts. They have together lost their bearings. Dishonesty is now part of their person. They cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

  • It’s clear all of you ‘tards arent cut out for that school. I’d rather have pangilinan, drilon, and aquino than idiots like sotto, honasan, pacquiao and gordon.