Divide and rule

AS HE marks his second year in office this coming June 30, President Aquino has so far enacted at least 22 bills into law, six of which are of local application while the rest are of national significance.

That may seem not bad at all, although the President could not take credit alone. He has to share it with our Congress leaders who deserve more of our commendation for successfully steering the immediate passage of these important measures.

On top of the President’s political victories however is the impeachment and conviction of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. The President did not hide his dismay against Corona whom he perceived to be the chief protector of former president Arroyo in the High Court.

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Speaking of legislative achievements, the Filipino people should not let their guards down as our incumbent lawmakers, especially among our honorable partylist representatives, are moving heaven and hell in creating new legislative districts to ensure their stay in power.

To date, there are pending bills in Congress which seek to create new congressional districts for Quezon City, Aklan, Bacolod, North Cotabato and Palawan.  Once these bills are enacted into law, the total number of our honorable congressmen will balloon to 290 after 2013 elections.

Such legislative move is not undemocratic and illegal.  In fact, it is even constitutional. It is however maliciously self-serving as it opens the door wider for our incumbent politicians to pull all kinds of manipulation in drawing district boundaries for personal political gains.

In political lexicon, it is called gerrymandering where a province, city, town or a legislative district is split into two for varying reasons, thus forming separate local government units or electing a new set of local officials.

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In gerrymandering, the incumbent government officials are far more likely to be reelected in this new legislative district.

This is a classic example of divide-and-rule tactics. More often, it is done by the political families to ensure that their spouse, children or relatives, could have a guaranteed position in the government after election without much contest.

And why not, there is so much at stake. Each congressional district is entitled to a P70 million Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel for infrastructure projects.  In most cases, these pork barrel funds go instead to the fat pockets of our honorable congressman.

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Take for instance this multi-millionaire partylist congressman who is said to be buying political support of his colleagues in Western Visayas for the passage of a bill creating a new legislative district where he now intends to run.

We should unmask this rich partylist congressman masquerading as a representative of a lowly sector he does not belong to at all. In this country, money can buy political power.

He has been luring his political friends not only with money but also women in his new disco bar.


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