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Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Easter cheers, reply to our critics

What with the sweltering heat consuming our physical energies, the Lenten week could have passed us here in the cavernous Batasan Complex with utter solemnity, creeping lonesomeness, and maybe crushing boredom.

Yet the inevitable working of human empathy made Easter Sunday turn up with doses of cheers for everyone, especially for me.

As Teddy has written in his Easter blog (inunahan mo ang ninong mo, ah!), I got the most pleasant surprise and the most liberal dose of cheer. Why? My mother, whom I thought I would not see during Lent at my birthplace in Dampul, came to visit me. Thanks to my office staff, led by Yvonne, who had tearfully read my first blog and decided to do something to surprise me.

Not only did Inang come shortly after 8am, spurring my wife Bobbie, who had stayed overnight, to excitedly rush me out of my office bathroom to welcome “our visitors”. Inang came with eight of my eleven siblings (four sisters and seven brothers) and several of my nieces and nephews. Later, my son Anto joined us, followed by my elder brother and his family. We had a grand time together; we savored the five precious hours till early afternoon strengthening bonds, updating on one another’s affairs, bantering, with our bodies heaving with laughter. It was as if the gleefulness of Dampul, our Lenten Mecca, had momentarily been transported to the Batasan.

My Batasan 5 colleagues, though wrapped in joy huddled with their loved ones, could not but be infected by the glee emanating from the largest group that was Inang’s brood. We all enjoyed the lilt of Easter under the copious shades of the tall bangkal trees on the edge of the South Wing of Batasan where Teddy’s priest-brother Peter celebrated mass, followed by pot-luck lunch. By past 2pm, the party broke up, with everyone leaving with a broad smile.

Now let me reply to all the agitated bloggers who kept asking: Why do we “hide” in the Batasan? Why don’t we “come out in the open to face the charges against (us)”?

Vinsoy and other sympathetic bloggers have partly answered these questions, and I am grateful to them. Allow me to dwell further on the matter.

First, we have squarely faced the charges against us. Actually, at this point it’s apt to call them what they really are: three separate complaints filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the Philippine National Police-Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (PNP-DIDM). The DOJ is trying to consolidate the complaints towards one charge of rebellion (the offense being one indivisible political act that must involve the use of armed means to overthrow the government).

Through our lawyers, we have questioned the validity – in both form and substance – of these complaints, and the relevance of the voluminous documents purported to constitute evidence of rebellion in two of these complaints. The third, according to our lawyers, cannot be considered a charge, no specific documentary basis.

After having laid the legal and practical bases through proper motions filed with the DOJ panel of prosecutors, we have elevated two issues for resolution to the appellate courts: the issue of warrantless or illegal arrest, applied in the case of Rep. Crispin B. Beltran and threatened to be applied to us, which we brought to the Court of Appeals; and the issue of the violation of our right to due process of law in the preliminary investigation on the complaints against us being carried out by the DOJ; that we brought up to the Supreme Court.

Second, we are not hiding in the Batasan as if we are fugitives from the law. We sought – and have been given – protective custody by the House of Representatives to which we belong, likewise by the Senate through unanimously adopted resolutions by the two chambers. The protection granted is for our right to preliminary investigation and against illegal or warrantless arrest.

Concurrent with such protection, we are safeguarded our right as members of the House – with a mandate from the people who elected our parties under the party-list system – to continue performing our duties by attending sessions and committee hearings of the House of Representatives. Should we allow ourselves to be arrested without warrant if we leave the Batasan premises, we would be prevented from carrying out our duties – as has happened with Rep. Crispin Beltran. Our constituents would be deprived of their voices in Congress arbitrarily through the act of detaining us pending conclusion of the preliminary investigation to determine if there exists probable cause to formally charge us in court.

That would be an injustice not only to us but to our constituents.

Walang PAKI-, Walang-ALAM?

Paano kung wala ka nang bigas na mabili sa palengke o wala kang pambili?

Paano kung wala ka nang mabiling gasolina o krudo para sa iyong sasakyan o tumaas na naman ang presyo nito dahil sa Oil Deregulation?

At pati LPG, tumaas na rin.

Paano kung wala ka nang mabiling asukal sa merkado o kahit sa Tindahan ni Gloria?

Kahit ang arawang netong sahod ng manggagawang bukid sa Hasyenda at Azucarera ay P9.50 lang?

Paano kung wala kang mabiling isda o karne sa palengke o tumaas na naman nag presyo ng mga ito dahil sa E-VAT o R-VAT?

Paano kung wala kang pambili o wala ka nang mabiling cell card para sa cell phone mo?

Na, wala kang trabaho at naghahanap ka ng trabaho pero wala ka namang makitang trabaho?

Na, Tumaas na naman ang singil sa kuryente at tubig.

At paano kung nakapirma ka sa “People’s Initiative” ni Gloria at gusto mong bawiin ang pirma mo dahil nilinlang ka lang?

Di ba ang laking problema na nito?

Di ba dapat ka nang makialam sa mga usapin at problemang ito ng bayan?


Eh paano kung giniba na o ginigiba na ang barong-barong nyo ng mga demolition crew, may kasama pang SWAT at PMG ng PNP dahil sasagasaan ng North Rail Project?

Masarap pa rin ba ang tulog mo?

Sasabihin mo kaya, Aba, hindi na tama ito!”
“Laban kung laban!”

Eh paano kung inaagawan o inaalisan ka na nang karapatang magsalita ng nasa loob mo o hinaing mo sa gubyerno?

Na-“CPR” ka na o na-Proclamation 1017 ka?

O kaya naman na-Illegal Arrest at under Arbitrary Detention ka sa Kampo Crame tulad ni Ka Bel?

Sisigaw ka na kaya ng “MAKIBAKA Huwag Matakot!”?
Ah! Siguro nga sasabihin mo na “Dapat na akong makialam!”

Sumama sa bayang sumisigaw ngayon ng:

“Uphold Civil Liberties!”

“Stop Political Persecution!”

“Never Again to Martial Law!”


Ka Paeng Mariano

Abril 18, 2006