MAGANES: The blunders of Sen. Risa Hontiveros

June 26, 2017 at 8:28 am Leave a comment


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Our lawmakers are supposed to have complete grasp of our laws, especially the Constitution. This is a basic requirement for any lawmaker since they are supposed to craft laws that are consistent with the provisions of the Constitution. Aside from knowing the basic requirements of lawmaking, they should also be consistent and coherent on what they are saying. Every word coming from their mouths are subject to the scrutiny of the public they are serving.
Sen. Ana Theresia ” Risa” Hontiveros-Baraquel is not a neophyte lawmaker. She served as representative of Akbayan Partylist in the House of Representatives from 2004 to 2010. She got the 9th slot of the senators who were elected last May 2016. I was one of those who voted her to the senate post, banking on her being a socialist-activist and a journalist. She fought hard for the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. In short, I found her to be a very intelligent woman, independent-minded and a leader who could be looked up to.
Lately, I was amused of what she said when she was interviewed by Daniel Razon of UNTV. I found her statements confusing even as she herself was confused. During the said interview, Hontiveros could not differentiate rebellion and invasion. She even said that parameters of rebellion and invasion were defined by the Constitution. I was dumbfounded. Here comes a senator who does not know what she’s saying. The Constitution did not define rebellion and invasion but the two are factors for a President to declare martial law. What happened to your mind Senator Risa Hontiveros? Rebellion is defined under Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code: “The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the government for the purpose of removing from allegiance to said government or its laws, the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, depriving the Chief Executive (President) or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of their powers or prerogatives”.
Hontiveros even said that what happened in Marawi did not constitute rebellion because Marawi residents did not rebel against the national government. It was not even invasion, according to her, what the Maute Group has done. Taking her words, Hontiveros said that a rebellion should be an act of the residents in Marawi City to separate it from the Philippine patrimony. Then, what about the Maute Group whose members are Muslim-Filipinos? Were they not rebelling against the government? They tried to occupy or invade Marawi City and even had the guts to raise an ISIS flag. Again, Hontiveros said that the Maute Group is just plain terrorist. Razon’s interview with Sen. Hontiveros was so lengthy that he was able to corner her inadequacy of intellect and reasons. Hontiveros put herself on shame. When her words came out to many “memes,” she cried foul and branded those posts as “fake news”. But she’s the one who uttered those words- not fabricated but quoted verbatim. Netizens feasted on her blunders.

I don’t know where she’s coming from. Maybe, she wanted to project herself as the real opposition of President Duterte that every action the President does, her role is to oppose not minding the consequences on her and to the public. Or, maybe she’s trying to impress her party mates at the Liberal Party to show that she’s one of them and that she belongs to the opposition. Sen. Hontiveros, there’s nothing wrong with being an opposition, but for Christ’s sake be consistent and reasonable. Look deeper about the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao. The mandate to declare it lies on President Duterte and not within the Senate House or the House of Representatives. The Constitution is very clear that the Congress in joint session could revoke or extend the declaration of Martial Law. Majority of the senators have already signed a resolution supporting the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, and the same move was done in the House of Representatives.
These blunders are not new to Hontiveros. Remember when she opposed the interment of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. She said that she was a victim of human rights being an activist during the martial law regime. How can she be an activist in 1972 when martial law was declared by Marcos when she’s only six years old? Or, how can she be an activist until martial law was lifted in 1981 when she’s still 15 years old? Those were her pretensions as an activist and I took them lightly. Apparently, she’s riding on the issue of Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Well, Sen. Hontiveros has still five years in the Senate House. Those are long years to correct herself and perpetuate good accomplishments as a senator. Given her journalistic prowess and being a socialist activist, Sen. Hontiveros could craft laws that are beneficial to Filipinos. Her blunders as of the moment could be forgotten. But if she will continue to do it in the future, her political career will wane due to self-destruction. Sen. Hontiveros, why not emulate Sen. Grace Poe who is working silently? Whenever she opens her mouth, words are calculated to the delight of the press people. There were instances that she too does not conform with President Duterte’s policies, but she took them so lightly not in a manner of what you are doing.
As I said Sen. Hontiveros has still five years to fix herself. Filipinos are forgiving people. It’s just a matter of time.
(For comments and suggestions, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com or virgilmaganes42@gmail.com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Read the online edition of Northern Watch at http://www.northwatch.wordpress.com )
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