Nothing to celebrate for 100 years of a colonial, rubberstamp Congress

Jun. 07, 2007

By Rep. Teddy Casio
Bayan Muna Party List

Today, the House Leadership is launching its celebration of the
centennial of the House of Representatives. Before members of the
House get carried away with self-serving paeans to the institution and
themselves, it is important for us to take a critical look at
Congress’ role in bringing the nation to the depths of injustice,
poverty and underdevelopment that it is in.

That the House leadership traces its roots to the US-created
Philippine Assembly of 1907 and not to the first Malolos Congress of
1898 is a testament to the colonial mindset that has characterized the
institution for the last century. From 1907 till this day, Congress’
role has been to protect the narrow foreign and elite interests. Thus,
it is one of the biggest hindrances to social reform and political

Today, not only is Congress continuing its tradition of granting more
privileges to foreign interests, it is known more as the President’s
rubberstamp, a footstool and defender amid the national demand to hold
Mrs. Arroyo accountable for her crimes against the people.

The people are disappointed with Congress because it has done nothing
to empower them or alleviate them from poverty and oppression. On the
contrary, the House is the epitomy of bad politics – many of its
members are guilty of misusing public funds, extortion, influence
peddling and political horse trading. Just yesterday, the Cheaper
Medicines Act fell victim to the lobby of multinational pharmaceutical
firms and the Marcos Victims Compensation Act was blocked by

When investigations into official perfidy are concerned, the House
leadership is quick to look the other way. It has repeatedly sabotaged
the impeachment process all in the service of Mrs. Arroyo.

Close to a thousand innocents have either been extrajudicially killed
or disappeared but this Congress which prides itself in abolishing the
death penalty has done practically nothing.

Rather than boast of their so-called achievements and role in nation
building, members of Congress should hang their heads in shame. They
should go on a soul-searching journey and ask themselves why the
people despise them so much. They should break free from their
colonial, reactionary roots in order to truly serve the interest of
the people. ###

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