Where do they get their Con Ass arrogance?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2006-12-07
Democracy runs on the currency of public opinion. Surveys make sure that leaders and other stakeholders of democracy are kept up-to-date with the public pulse on important and relevant issues. Surveys conducted scientifically by professionals of integrity remain by far the best means to gauge the public sentiment on issues that matter.

While elections determine the people's choice on who will govern, surveys provide the checks, feedback and the markers that help guide the elected public servant to be sensitive to the needs and sentiments of the very people who had appointed him.

Thus, many of us who understand the dynamics of the democratic system are stunned at the way most congressmen can so easily disregard and defy unmistakably adverse public opinion such as those revealed by surveys of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia, two of our more credible survey institutions.

Since the revelations of the Garci Tapes, survey after survey showed that majority of Filipinos do not believe that Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the rightful president. Likewise, survey after survey also showed that majority of Filipinos prefers to resolve the crisis through impeachment proceedings, which is a constitutional option.

In a functional democracy, easily 60% of congressmen would have voted to elevate an impeachment case to the Senate in deference to strong public opinion. But because we are a dysfunctional democracy, we could not even muster the 30% of votes that were needed to impeach Madame Arroyo.

House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles was quick to find fault in the latest SWS findings showing a 67% rejection of Charter Change. He reportedly said that the high percentage was an effect of the Supreme Court's earlier rejection of the People's Initiative for Charter Change.

Representative Constantino Jaraula on the other hand blamed it on the survey experts' biased and misleading questionnaire.

Rep. Nograles sees an imagined factor while Rep. Jaraula sees an ulterior motive. But they can't see the most glaring fact of all that 67% of Filipinos rejected their proposed Charter Change.

They and their ilk don't realize that we can see through them. How dare these congressmen suggest that Filipinos cannot discern issues, that we can be easily misled by cleverly crafted questions!

Expect our pro-administration congressmen to discredit every survey that is unfavorable to their interests. But wait till the same survey companies reveal results that somehow favor their agenda and you will witness their skill at making a mountain out of a molehill.

It is easy for these pro-administration congressmen to practice double standard because they do not really care about public opinion. They claim to have the numbers but they totally disregard the overwhelming number of Filipinos who do not approve of what they're doing. In other democracies like the US and the UK, designated leaders acknowledge and respect what the surveys say, knowing that they serve at the pleasure of the people.

Nothing testifies to the dysfunction of our democracy more than the arrogance of the pro-administration congressmen. I cannot imagine a US congressman displaying such an attitude in the face of overwhelming public sentiment over an issue of national importance. But then, over in the US they take their democracy seriously while over here we only pretend to have one.

US President George W. Bush is just about the most arrogant White House resident of recent times. And yet look at the much humbled and chastised Bush was after the November 7 US Mid-term Elections (where the Democrats recaptured control of the House of Representatives and the Senate). Look at how many Republican candidates in that election campaign shifted their positions on the Iraq War � the issue that propelled the Democrats to victory � after they saw in the surveys how the American public felt about the war.

When you look at the margin by which the Republicans lost both houses, these were nowhere near the consistent overwhelming number of Filipinos who favored impeachment and reject Charter Change in survey after survey of the SWS and Pulse Asia.

Despite the 67% public rejection, the pro-administration congressmen pushed for a Charter Change through Con Ass (Constituent Assembly, although some folks say it is the big CON by the biggest ASSholes), which cannot be done sans Senate participation. They not only spit on our faces by defying public opinion but they do so while violating a clear provision of the law for the Congress and the Senate to vote separately.

It matters not to them that they stand to personally benefit from the deferment of the May 2007 elections (where they will likely lose owing to the current tide of public opinion) and term extension. Delicadeza is not in their vocabulary.

Their Speaker, Joe de Venecia, who we roundly rejected in the 1998 presidential elections and who now pins his hopes of a "resurrection" through a changing of the game and its rules, leads them. Personally, it is hard not to like Joe but by God � his politics stinks. Joe reminds me of the rejected suitor who now seeks to win the fair damsel through "legalized rape."

So, we ask and we wonder � why are they so arrogant? But more than knowing the source of their arrogance, we should ponder what we could do to correct this situation.

Can you imagine a corporate manager strutting arrogantly to push his own agenda before unsympathetic stockholders? It is the stockholders who vote to approve the company's key officers and certainly, each of these officers know that they must satisfy stockholders expectations, or else.

But alas, in this so-called Philippines Inc. where voters lack the education and sophistication to assert their rights and their will, it is easy for elected leaders to get away with arrogance and even bloody murder.

All the more reason therefore that we must ensure that the 2007 elections are held as scheduled. The 2007 elections will present another chance to regain our country and our dignity. Election season somehow has a humbling effect on those seeking a new mandate. Somehow, this is a time when people can make a statement against those who had been conspicuously overbearing and abusive.

We must unite and deliver our verdict on these congressmen. Let's identify those who have arrogantly defied our desire to settle the Garci Crisis through an impeachment.

Let's rally around the slogan: "Remember the impeachment! Remember how you spat on our faces!"

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