Thursday, April 22, 2010


Advice to incoming neophyte congressmen (and senators): Secure (or read again) a copy of the Robert's Rules of Order which is the bible of parliamentary bodies in western countries after which our legislative body is patterned. Read it word by word and thoroughly acquaint yourselves with the intricacies of floor debates and deliberations. This is the first step towards credible performance in the two chambers. There are so many pitfalls and traps in legislative debates and proceedings, and if you are not adequately prepared, it would be best to maintain a discreet silence, like one senator who went through his six-year term without even taking the floor. He always shot back at press interviews: "No comment."

Only a few of you would ever go on to become another Primicias, Recto, Tolentino, Montano, Marcos, Laurel or Cabili.

It is also important that you get a good research staff and a competent speechwriter. Never take the floor without preparation because it would mean certain embarrassment, unless you can plead with your colleagues not to subject you to interpellations, which is most unlikely.

In important debates, some of the wiser legislators always bring a cheering squad to root for them and to boo the other side. This is the job of your PR men. And sometimes, it's good to have a bottle around for the press.

Of course we have some disappointing ones in the legislature as well. You know who they are. But one particular member I will never forget is Senator Rodolfo 'Pong' Biazon who now seeks a congressional post for Muntinlupa City.

During one of the senate committee hearings, the good senator was questioning a certain Mr. Ponye. While the latter was answering a question, Biazon interrupted and rudely asked him, "sigurado ka walang "TA" sa huli ng apelyido mo?" I almost fell from my chair after hearing this. Such arrogance and disrespect to an invited resource person.

Yes, he is an officer, but not a gentleman. Bastos. He sure had my vote in the past, but I'm having second thoughts voting for him again this time.
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