Tuesday, July 21, 2009


One of the most bizarre accusations that ever hit the Batasan Pambansa in the past was its spending of some PhP45 million for turon snacks of congressmen during committee hearings. Yes, turon. A ranking congressman, chairman of a powerful committee, had this amazing defense for the gargantuan expense: "It's good we spent only for turons. Suppose we had ordered steak sandwiches and crepe suzettes?"

Speaker Prospero Nograles should really crack down on those huge expenses for food in the House, even though he himself was criticized for overspending on lavish toilets for the Batasan. During sessions and committee hearings, there are heavily-laden buffet tables with all forms of victuals and vinos. It's not only the solons who partake of this food, but also their employees, family members and guests. Some even have the food wrapped and taken home.

If you don't see your favorite solons on the session floor or in committee hearings, they could be in their chambers, sleeping soundly due to over-eating and over-drinking. The people happiest over the situation are the food concessionaires who overcharge the House and presumably give kickbacks to some House officials and finance officers.

One thing is certain: Not one of our legislators will ever die of starvation.

Being overpaid and overfed are among the perks of power. Years ago, Lily Tomlin remarked that "98 percent of the adults in any country are decent, hard-working honest citizens, and that the other 2 percent get all the privilege and publicity and only because we elected them."

By the same token, Auberon Waugh commented in the Spectator, "When we have finally stirred ourselves to hang them all, I hope our next step is to outlaw political parties on the grounds that like our amusement arcades, they attract all the least desirable members of our society."

Here, they are simply censured as trapos.

No comments: