They want it so bad

December 6, 2006. I really find it very astounding how badly our congressmen want to change our Constitution. Imagine, the insensitivity of shortcutting all the procedures, in a time when part of our country is just reeling from a terrible calamity, all in the middle of the night while everyone else is sleeping.

Unbelievable. And they will be back at it by this afternoon. I wonder how things will turn out. These are the times I’m actually counting on the opposition to represent all those who dissent this incredulously dubious feat. I have not against a systematic overhaul of our political system. But if these congressmen will be the same parliamentarians in the new order–then, there is no new order. This, aside from other less discussed issues within the proposed amendments, is what makes me oppose Charter Change, as proposed by the House of Representatives.

During high school, whenever Speaker Jose de Venecia would be present at class gatherings, he would be made to talk, and when you make him talk, all he talks about are the virtues of a parliamentary form of government. When we had a class outing at their Pangasinan estate, he talked to us over merienda and, yes, he talked about the parliamentary form of government, aside from propping up the candidacy of President Gloria Arroyo.

This was three years ago. And even when I browse through newspaper archives at the main library (for amusement, I’m weird like that), it appears that Mr. de Venecia has been at it for more than a decade. Sometimes I’d force myself to suspend all doubts and believe that all his efforts are indeed selfless acts for the country. But, I’m sorry, I just can’t. Apologies to a good friend from high school for these opinion against his father.

Class outing 2: Lunch at the backwaters

For our last day in Pangasinan, we had lunch at the de Venecias’ fish ponds at the backwaters of Dagupan. To get there, we had to ride bancas through a labyrinth of canals and fishponds. Jose de Venecia and Roberto Pagdanganan in front of TV crew Before going to the lunch place, DAR Secretary Pagdanganan came over at the de Venecias’ estate. He is believed to have plans of running for senator next year (he lost the last time he ran). After eating lunch, some of my classmate toured the backwaters with Toff. I on the other hand, the curious eavesdropper I am, joined the press people at their interview with Mr. and Mrs. de Venecia. Mrs. Gina de Venecia is planning to run for senator next year under the ruling administration party. According to her, her platform is based on the promotion of the welfare of the children and the women of the Philippines.

bancas under the bridge classmates onboard the bancas classmates onboard the bancas fishermen tending fishpen classmates onboard the banca banca passing through canals

classmates on the banca

Rene and Toff classmates eating lunch

Mrs. de Venecia with grastronomically satisfied press people, uhuh

Class outing 2: Kids, promote parliamentary-form of government and GMA

Even later that afternoon, I, together with some few classmates and Toff, had a conversation with her mom, Mrs. Gina de Venecia over champorado and some sort of stringy dried fish reputably, according to Mr. de Venecia, one of the most expensive kinds of fishes in the market costing at about 1,000 pesos per kilo.

Anyway, after our light discussions, Mrs. de Venecia invited her husband to join the table and asked our other classmates to gather around too, this time over halo-halo and a huge bilao of pansit palabok with bits of talaba. The dialogue was mostly about politics, politics and more politics. Mr. de Venecia practically talked to us as if we were press people in a press conference. He kept talking about parliament and consistency in government that’s why we should re-elect Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo as president. Of course, many of my classmates are apathetic and among those who aren’t, Mrs. Arroyo is not that popular. We also had our say.

Mr. and Mrs. de Venecia had some rebuttals. They asked us why we are in favor of the other candidates for president. In the end, it’s still the same. I mean, they express depression over the fact that people base their votes on candidates’ personalities and little on accomplishments but the thing is, they also defended Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo by attacking the personality of her political rivals Roco, Lacson and Poe.

It’s sad, the discussions were about the elections and the candidates’ personalities, not the issues. Sometimes, it’s hard to grasp Mr. de Venecia’s rationale especially when he talked about why we should change to parliamentary form of government. He sounds really intelligent though. The discussion ended with Mrs. de Venecia asking us what we think would help Mrs. Arroyo improve her image and win the elections.

Jose de Venecia, Gina de Venecia and Christopher de Venecia Jose de Venecia, Gina de Venecia and Christopher de Venecia

Class outing 2: Joe and his fishes

We got back at the de Venecia estate the same time House Speaker de Venecia arrived on a helicopter. After an hour of resting, he invited us to a tour of his fishponds. Apparently, he is on a private endeavor to culture new breeds of agricultural fishes. He allowed us to feed the fishes in his ponds and explained to us that once his group has successfully bred the fishes, they are going to be distributed to the poor families in Pangasinan as livelihood assistance.

de Venecia fisheries

de Venecia and Jess de Venecia feeding his fishes de Venecia and classmates de Venecia and classmates de Venecia and classmates de Venecia and classmates de Venecia and classmates de Venecia and classmates trabahador of de Venecia Rene with de Venecia de Venecia feeding his fishes

the NEW de Venecia mansion beside one of their fish ponds

This fishpond is right beside the de Venecias’ new mansion.

fish pond with kois fishpond breeding ulang prawns de Venecia and classmates de Venecia and classmates