Monday, August 13, 2007

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives

A news there is that the Representative of Occidental Mindoro, Amelita Villarosa, was sworn in as -- here's the initial confusion -- the first woman Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, or the first Deputy Speaker for women in the House of Representatives. Reports have it that what prompted the swearing in was the clamor from progressive groups in the Congress for gender balance. That means, just as there are deputy speakers from the three major islands -- Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao -- of the Philippines, so there should also be a speaker from what comprises 22% of the representations currently in the Congress (it is said that the 14th Congress has the most number of lady-legislators, that is 54). In there deliberations, congressmen -- macho as ever -- anticipated the possibility of a deputy speaker for the solons of third sex. Hintayin nga natin, kung may aamin sa kanila.
At least it was Liza Masa who clarified the thing: Rep. Villarosa is not going to be the Speaker of the Women-Legislators. Well, we, in Occidental Mindoro, cannot but agree on Masa's view.
While the clamor, as they named it in the House, was heard, and the ensuing discussions were also held, and the swearing in was already done, let me still think aloud regarding this issue. And I would like to register my strongest objection against the selection of our Congresswoman for such a position.
For one, I am almost sure that her selection was because of her close association to Jose de Venecia (and to Malacanan). Can we expect her to be substantial? As this position is a "first time" in the House of Representatives, I fear that because nothing can be anticipated to happen because of her capacity (evidenced by her performance as Congresswoman of Occidental Mindoro) the Deputy Speakership that is reserved for women shall be short-lived.
Secondly -- and this supports the preceding point -- the capacity of Rep. Villarosa is suspect. (One can always refer to the immediately preceding post (A Congressional Blooper) and the postings on the legislative performance of the Congresswoman.)
Lastly, I would become proud the moment our Rep. Villarosa comes home to Occidental Mindoro and does her work in our lone congressional district. For those who don't know, she is actually coming home very seldom. Kasing dalang ng patak ng ulan sa tag-araw... And she's our Representative in the Congress.

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