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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Congressmen, please watch the Pacquiao-Cotto fight on TV

No less than the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives on Tuesday called on his fellow congressmen to make a sacrifice and desist from going to Las Vegas to watch the Pacquiao-Cotto fight on November 15. Speaking on radio station dzMM, Iloilo’s 3rd District representative, Mr. Arthur Defensor, the House Majority Leader, said he was urging his fellow lawmakers not to go to the United States because of the great need to have a quorum when the House resumes its session next Monday, November 9.

Rep. Defensor expressed the hope that most congressmen, being sensitive to negative publicity and imbued with a high sense of duty, would heed his call.

He said many important pending bills should be passed on third and final reading next week, specially the 2010 General Appropriations Bill. He also mentioned bills amending the election code, which are necessary for the proper conduct of the 2010 elections, such as the bill that specifies the acts forbidden to candidates before and during the campaign period.

A necessary election-related bill is one that would end the law’s ridiculous tolerance of premature campaigning through infomercials, newspaper ads and speeches. Aspirants can engage in these obviously campaign activities as long as they have not yet filed their certificates of candidacy. And yet the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has punished some politicians with disqualification for doing acts the Comelec considered premature campaigning.

Mr. Defensor wishes the budget bill passed by next week to give the senators time to deliberate on it. Appropriations laws must emanate from the House. But the Senate can block enactment of the budget if it is the senators’ will to do so.

Speaker Prospero Nograles is in the United States right now. He is scheduled to hold meetings with US Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other American congressional leaders. Because he is known to have never missed watching a Pacquiao boxing match live, people are wondering if he would be back home to preside over the opening session on Monday or would stay on in the US for the Pacquiao-Cotto fight.

Mr. Nograles insists he has never used government money for his trips to watch the Pacman’s bouts abroad. He justifies his having watched all the Pacquiao fights abroad saying that he has a duty to the Filipino superchampion from General Santos City in Mindanao. Like the pride of Mindanao, Mr. Nograles is also a Mindanaoan—he is from Davao and the leader of the House’s Mindanao bloc of congressmen whose solid support for Nograles helped oust former Speaker Jose de Venecia.

Unlike the Majority Leader, another Defensor-surnamed congressman, Rep. Matias Defensor of Quezon City, condones his fellow lawmakers’ trip to Las Vegas for the Pacquiao-Cotto bout. He says the congressmen just want to do their patriotic duty of giving moral support to the Pacman. He says Pacquiao needs all the moral support the Filipinos can give because some expert sports commentators say the Filipino could find it difficult to humble the Puerto Rican Cotto.

Sports killed House quorum in May

Addiction to sports, or to Manny Pacquiao or devotion to their duty to cheer their team at the Palarong
Pambansa caused the House not to have a quorum on May 4.

That was when some 50 House members were in Las Vegas to watch the Pacquiao-Hatton match.

Let’s savor a recollection of that fight. It ended in a glorious TKO victory for the Pinoy champion. The
PacMan floored Hatton twice during the first round. In the middle of the second round the PacMan gave the Brit a body punch that weakened him. Near the end of the round Manny hit Hatton with a power left. It was at 2:59 when the PacMan sent Hatton down on the canvass for a minute of slumber. The referee stopped the fight. Pugilism experts described it as one of the shortest fights and one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. That fight again raised the PacMan to another level of fame and success.

But 50 congressmen being the PacMan’s groupies, was not the only thing that kept the House’s plenary session from having quorum on Monday, May 4, 2009. The number of congressmen required to be present for there to be a quorum was 133. But there were only 131. Fifty were in Las Vegas.

Twenty-five were also attending a sporting event—the Palarong Pambansa in Leyte. They were also doing their duty—giving moral support—to their provinces’ teams at those national games.

Where were the other 58? Some ten or so congressmen where supposed to have been members of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s retinue in the trip to Cairo. The 48 others must have been engaged also in some athletic preoccupation—even if some must have been doing sports of the horizontal kind.

Yes, congressmen simply must pay more serious attention to the noble sport of passing laws—especially the law for the national budget.

Source: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/opinion/5235-congressmen-please-watch-the-pacquiao-cotto-fight-on-tv

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