Friday, July 6, 2007

Back to the Present

A Mamburao-hailed political scientist, Dr. Remigio Agpalo, published a book (Adventures in Political Science) featuring his essays on various subjects well within his expertise. I would like to quote from his article: The Politics of Occidental Mindoro (in pages 120-122):

"...(A)n account of the Congressman's politics, no matter how brief, will bring out all the salient points of the politics of Occidental Mindoro.

"Congressman Felipe Abeleda was first elected as representative of Occidental Mindoro in 1953. Since that year he has been serving in Congress continuously, having been elected in 1957 and 1961. In terms of privileged speeches, which are means by which a legislator may ventilate the problems and needs of his constituents or inform and educate the public about significant issues, the records of the House of Representatives showed that the total numbers of speeches delivered from 1954 to 1962 were 735. However, Congressman Felipe Abeleda, until 1962, had yet to deliver his maiden address.

"(...the number of participations in floor deliberations were also tabulated...) for the period from 1958 to 1961 to discover the ten outstanding legislators, and the ... findings were very interesting. Congressman Felipe Abeleda's name was not included among the ten highest scorers under debates, nor under explanations of votes, nor under interpellations, nor under questions of privilege, nor under speeches for or against bills, nor under sponsorship speeches on bills. It is only under amendments where the Congressman's name was included. During the period ..., 1958-1961, the Congressman offered 45 amendments.

"With regard to bills introduced in the House of Representatives, the Congressman's share was only 107 out of the total of 11,788 bills introduced from 1954 to 1960... Since there were 102 members of the House of Representatives, the average share of each legislator should be around 115. Congressman Abeleda's share, therefore, is 8 less than the average. Realistically, the Congressman's share could even be reduced further because not all of the 107 bills were introduced by him alone. Of the 107 bills listed under his name, 64 were introduced by the Congressman in cooperation with other legislators. Thus, only 43 bills can be credited to the Congressman exclusively.

"Congressman Abeleda, for the period of 1954-1960, introduced 25 original bills meant for Occidental Mindoro. Then of these bills sought to grant franchises to certain individuals. Four bills involved changing of names, two barrios and two schools. Four bills were meant to establish schools, two to create barrios, two to establish agencies in the province, one national road, and one to protect and save the tamarao... from extinction. One can easily see that the four bills involving changing of names are trivial and the ten bills involving franchises are meant to favor particular individuals. Although some of the bills are really worthy, one balace the Congressman's record insofar as bills are concerned can stand plenty of improvement.

"Congressman Felipe Abeleda won a berth in the list of ten outstanding Congressmen in 1963 as evaluated by the Philippine Free Press. The Congressman's winning a place in the PFP's roll of honor was primarily based on his fairness in dealing with the investigation of a Congressman's alleged misuse of the privilege speech before the House of Representative. (He) then was the chairman of the committee charged to investigate the case.

"In spite of his record in Congress, the Congressman has won every congressional election in Occidental Mindoro since 1953. Why? He knows how to please voters all over Occidental Mindoro by employing various techniques. In some municipalities, he is a generous road-builder, legal counselor, recommendation-maker, job-giver, and guardian angel; in others he can be harsh by not helping in the releasing of funds for school buildings and other projects. He has won the loyalty of his sub-leaders and followers by taking care of them whenever they need his advice, or help on various matters. He has extended his family through sanguinal, affinal, and compadrazgo relationships. He has multiplied his party followers through patronage at the Bureau of Public Works at the Emergency Employment Agency.

"Aside from these methods, the Congressman wins political support through his personality. He has a nice smile or firm handshake for everyone, and he does not have to force himself to be a man of the masses. The Congressman is sociable and hospitable, and his house is open to any person who needs his personal services.

"In short, all chains are used to bind the voters and minor leaders of Occidental Mindoro to the Congressman's leadership -- the chain of utang na loob, the chain of love and friendship, the chain of fear of deprivation, of desired goods or services, the chain of the party system, sanguinal chains, and the compadrazgo chain."

Nay, as said at the beginning of this entry, it's Rep. Felipe Abeleda's congressional historical performance that is being exposed.

Kung may pagkakatulad po sa kasalukuyan, hindi po ito sinasadya... Pero, sa Kanlurang Mindoro, ang karamihan sa mga pulitiko ay magkakadugo.

1 comment:

Gaming Diva said...

Are you an Abeleda? Because I am