The titan of congress must be circling his grave

Men at a certain age in my province still remember the gravitas and parliamentary greatness of the longtime Congressional representatives of our two congressional districts. Particularly in the glorious era the first district was represented by Rep. Diosdado P. Macapagal and the second district of Rep. Emilio P. Cortez. We all know about the life and era of Cong Dadong, the “Poor Boy from Lubao,” whose ascension to the fifth presidency of the Republic is perhaps the latest story of our “up from the bootstraps”, a meritocratic rise without similar.

With the possibility to hide the life and career of Emilio Cortez and with reason. Representative Cortez’s first district counterpart, Representative Macapagal, scaled the Everest of Philippine politics. Representative Cortez did not. But Representative Cortez’s limited political ambition failed to hide what was seen – he was a giant of the Old Congress. In fact, the most important questions related to Pampanga politics during the time both Macapagal and Cortez served in Congress were the following:

Who is the better parliamentarian? Who is brighter in academia? Who is more earnest as a political orator? Who is better to read? Ardent advocates for Macapagal and Cortez are tied to statistics and to date the answer to the question of who is better and brighter has yet to be answered. (I was for Cong Dadong in these discussions, townmate you see, you vote for your own. But I admit that on left-wing political treatises, Tatang Milio Cortez had more comprehensive readings than Cong Dadong.) Of course, there was consensus. that Cong Dadong was the senior writer in literature.

Emilio Cortez, according to local legend, was also a protégé of Don Honorio Ventura, who is primarily remembered for nurturing the talent and supporting the academic endeavors of the young but poor Diosdado Macapagal. To impress Don Honorio and prove he was on par with the talent of the young Macapagal, Cortez graduated from medical school with excellent grades, then passed the medical board examination. He then entered law school, graduated with honors and passed the brightly colored bar.

A lawyer-doctor and orator who recognized himself in Congress for his ongoing legislative work and earnest speech for the peasantry, the underclass, Cortez was one of the most read, fully informed members of Congress of his time. . He was a firebrand, yes, but had a deep background on the political and social issues of his time.

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Those times are missed, sadly missed and deeply remembered. And looking at who now represents the district once represented by the great Emilio Cortez in the old Congress drives one to utter desperation. Cortez, the brilliant contrarian and banner bearer for great social issues back in the day. So far, most of the towns Cortez represents in Congress, including the capital San Fernando, already belong to Pampanga’s third district and the congressman is named Aurelio Gonzales Jr. That is currently in the news.

Representative Gonzales is the lead author of House Resolution 1, which was filed early in the 19th Congress. Because time is of the essence and can no longer wait, Mr. Gonzales wants the House and the Senate to transform into a constituent assembly to rewrite the political provisions in the Constitution.

At this point, you may have guessed what Mr. Gonzales thinks should be the country’s most pressing agenda-you get that-the feverish dream of every administration except the two Aquinos: the hypocrisy or violation of the provisions in tenure of the president or the type of government. Gonzales ’version changes a one-term, six-year presidency in favor of two terms of five years each.

Mr. Gonzales has no personal interest in it. He wants to change all the terms of office prescribed for elected officials under the current Constitution, including members of the House of Representatives.

He invokes the usual trope – national good. That longevity seems to be a virtue and the strict term limit that mandates presidents to serve only a term of six years is a curse to a country’s development goals. Gonzales did not mention either data or empirics, nor did he adopt his resolution on political science that would show that removing term limits would increase GDP to this level and the quality of life in general for to citizens to this positive limit.

The resolution is a mixture of cheap words removed from previous attempts to tamper with the Constitution, the satire is not a bug but the most dominant feature, the sustainable narrative.

If we were a country with a Pollyannaish state and a Goldilocks economy, a resolution similar to the one filed by Gonzales might not mean a drunk in a church yard. The reaction is likely to be “you expect pointless filings sometimes.” Never mind, we were in good shape, so we could live with the inanities cum power trips.

The problem we face today is difficult, difficult times. Inflation, always undervalued, is 6.1 percent. The value of the peso is at a 17 -year low. While reading the “Great Resignation” stories on thriving economies and 10 million jobs that remain unfilled, then turning to local news that says close to 3 million Filipinos are unemployed, you are gripped by a deep sense , deep frustration. Why can’t people find jobs when there are many jobs elsewhere and workers are now finding strength and determined to negotiate for their rights? More than 20 million Filipinos live below the poverty threshold.

We need to have an economy that can serve P12 trillion and a debt that the country must repay amid conditions of darkness and disaster.

In Mr. Gonzales’ village of Anao, Mexico City, poor peasant families affected by the sharp decline in the purchasing power of their sweaty peso, “xs” eggs, the kind that are only slightly larger than in bird eggs. from P130 to P150-P160 per tray. For those who live in agricultural labor and have no land to cultivate, the cheapest rice is P27 per kilo, and it is almost inedible. Instant noodle scare limits the very limited food options for the poor in Anao.

Instead of filing a national reconstruction bill, a comprehensive economic reform agenda, or a straightforward improvement program, Mr. Gonzales of the political poison that Filipinos have flatly denied is likely to trigger further political divisions.

Representative Cortez, the fiery legislative titan and orator for the underclass, is supposed to roll around in his grave.