Thursday, February 7, 2008

Of principles and dangling modifiers

And I wanted to add— misplaced prepositions, third cousins and cabalens —but had to keep the title short. During that fateful congressional session on 4 February, while Representatives explained why they were in favor or against declaring the Speaker’s seat vacant, they were , perhaps unwittingly, murdering the English language. But, there are worse sins than bad grammar like voting for the wrong reasons, such as extended family relations ( “...became he is my third cousin.”) and tribal affinities (“ ...because she is my cabalen.”). On top of that, many congressmen shamelessly plagiarized Reverend Jackson, Mother Teresa and St. Francis of Assisi , maybe for dramatic effect.

The toppling of Speaker Jose de Venecia has nothing to do with reforms nor with democracy; it is a clash of Titans. There was so much weeping and the gnashing of teeth , among dangling modifiers and misplaced prepositions, that at first, it was hard to divine what was really at stake. Then it became clear that it was a sub-battle within a bigger more lethal war and that both have pushed the bitterly contending forces closer to Armageddon where the Executive Branch will deal the fatal and final blow on the entire Legislative Branch to achieve absolute hegemony.

Yet, in all that embarrassing, disheartening and demoralizing spectacle, there were sparks of hopefullight. The party lists of the Left rose to the occasion. They voted in the negative because they believe that changing Speakers does not constitute true democratic reform. They declared that the independence and sovereignty of the Legislative Branch are primordial and should be upheld and protected at all cost if this Republic were to remain a democratic one. That was a principled decision not taken in haste.

The consequences of that negative vote are bound to be formidable. If in the past countryside development funds came in trickles, the tap will now be permanently turned off and when constitutional amendments are enforced, the Party List system could very well disappear from our political landscape. I salute them for being true to their principles, for being forthright and patriotic, instead of succumbing to the temptations of lucrative accommodation.#

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