Ex­plain­ing CHR vote: ‘so very hard to do’ I

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

F you were among seven mem­bers of the House from Cebu who voted “yes,” ab­stained from vot­ing, or was ab­sent from the ses­sion hall when the bud­get of the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights was re­duced last Wed­nes­day (Sept. 13) to P1,000 for the year 2018, you may not have a cred­i­ble answ er.

For you need to ex­plain why you fa­vored the eco­nomic as­sault on CHR, a con­sti­tu­tion­ally cre­ated agency, a move that was al­most to­tally in­de­fen­si­ble. Ab­sten­tion or ab­sence -- other than be­ing kid­napped and de­tained or gagged and bound in hand and foot -- would be seen as vot­ing “yes.” Not these First, on the an­swers you may not give if you wouldn’t wish to in­sult the pub­lic’s in­tel­li­gence:

---Don’t say you couldn’t make it to the House ses­sion be­cause of another ur­gent busi­ness, say a com­mit­tee meet­ing or an im­por­tant elec­tion leader’s wed­ding an­niver­sary. Or you had to go to the bath­room and when you came back the vot­ing was over. (The bath­room ex­cuse won’t work any­where)

---Don’t say your “no” vote wouldn’t mat­ter as you knew the “yes” vote, by sheer size of the rul­ing party’s su­per ma­jor­ity, would win any­way. That would be deemed a cop-out, how­ever you ar­gue it. Two forces Most likely you were torn be­tween forces of com­pul­sion:

-- one, the de­sire to do what is right, since CHR is a cre­ation of the Con­sti­tu­tion to check and bal­ance power; be­liev­ing that cut­ting the CHR bud­get to a pal­try thou­sand from mil­lions of pe­sos is ridicu­lous if not silly; plus the thought that the House and its law­mak­ers would ap­pear as lack­eys of an ad­min­is­tra­tion spite­ful and in­tol­er­ant of crit­i­cism;

-- two, your self-in­ter­est, per­sonal and par­ti­san; you would not want to be thrown off the band­wagon, the vic­tors’ gravy train. Whose or­der? But you could be hon­est and say you had to do it. Like that party-list rep­re­sen­ta­tive who moved for ap­proval of the CHR slash, though his party ideals and per­sonal be­lief must have willed oth­er­wise but his re­li­gion (not the Catholic Church) re­port­edly or­dered him to sup­port the rul­ing party. No, he hasn’t come out to tell why but one can imag­ine the tug of con­flict­ing el­e­ments be­fore he stood to make the mo­tion.

Or say that you’d like to be re­elected and wouldn’t want to be de­nied the projects that the ad­min­is­tra­tion could give you be­fore the mid-term elec­tion. Like that con­gress­man from south Cebu who re­port­edly said, off the record, “I want to sur­vive.” Keep­ing quiet There it is. Vot­ing or not vot­ing at all on such a con­tro­ver­sial piece of leg­is­la­tion could be eas­ier than ex­plain­ing why af­ter­wards. Like “break­ing up” in the Bacharach song, the ex­plain­ing is “so very hard to do.”

Not a sur­prise that many House mem­bers who couldn’t tell it as it is, with a straight face, have cho­sen to keep quiet.

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