Monday, August 16, 2010

Councilor Brian Lim's Privilege Speech regarding SP draft resolution no. R-4688

The privileged speech of Councilor Brian Lim in toto: 

Privileged Speech
16 August 2010

Three months ago, every member of this august body emerged victorious in the May Elections.

The people of this great city, entrusting to each one of us the duty to promote, enact, amend, or repeal laws.

Less than two months after that, together, we took our oaths of office, among others swearing to protect, uphold, and defend the constitution and all our laws, officially becoming so-called “honorable” members of the sanggunian panlungsod

It took less than a week, for all of my illusions of working harmoniously together for the greater good to be shattered.

Frankly, I believe that we don’t deserve to be called honorable. 

I say we, because as the minority floor leader, I believe that I convinced my colleagues that the passing of this controversial resolution is premature, in violation of due process, and the separation of powers. 

But I still failed. 

I still failed, because even if I was able to convince them, it was not enough to make them do something about it.

I met with some of them in person, others, I received calls from, but all basically told me the same thing: that their hands were “tied”, and that they could not refuse what is being demanded of them. 

Despite knowing that this resolution suffers from many legal infirmities, or at the very least, questions of law, and that perhaps a little more time and diplomacy is all we needed to put everything in order, on this fateful day, this august body will disregard the very principles that it stands on, and push through with the passing of this resolution

Yes ladies and gentlemen, observe, the tyranny of the majority.

It is ironic because I had the chance to talk with many of my colleagues in the days leading to this infamy, and I find it unacceptable that many of you believe that you do not have a choice regarding this matter.

You always have a choice.

Hindi nakatali ang inyong mga kamay. 

May roon pa ang nagsabi sa akin, na ito na daw ang huling kahilingan, at dahil sa rasong ito, itutuloy ang pagpasa ng resolusyon na ito. 

Kung kayo ay naniniwala, na ito na nga ang huling kahilingan, kayo ay nagkakamali, o noong sinabi ninyo sa akin, ay siguro pambobola lamang. 

Just the same, you are missing the point: it does not matter whether this is the last request you are willing to grant.  It does not matter if this is a political favor of gratitude. 

It does not make it right. 

At kahit na ito nga ang huling kahilingan, hindi makabuluhan, na ito ay magiging legal o sang ayon sa batas, ang pagpasa ng resolusyon na ito.

Ang tama, tama.  Ang mali, mali

Paano tayo umabot sa ganito? 

Nuong nakaraang biyernes, nagkaron tayo ng joint committee hearing. 

Ito ang kaunaunahang joint committee hearing ng sanggunian, at ang pinagusapan ay ang itong kontrobersyal na resolusyon.

Pagkatapos ng hearing na ginanap dito sa session hall, ay hindi pa tayo nakontento, kinailangan pa nating sumugod sa City Planning Office at City Engineering Office para ipagpatuloy ang hearing doon.

Nakalimutan naba natin na Ang City Engineering Office at City Planning Office ay hindi na sakop ng lehislatibo ng ating siudad? 

Sa madaling salita, hindi na sakop ng sangguniang panlungsod ang mga opisinang ito.

Wala ba tayong respeto sa ibang ahensiya ng ating pamahalaan? 

Hindi ba dapat, na tayo ay nagpaalam man lang sana, sa mga opisyales ng ehekutibo at sa alkalde ng siudad?

Siguro, hindi tayo matutuwa, kung bigla nalang pumasok ang City Engineering Office dito ngayon at gamitin ang session hall bilang opisina nila.

At ang masama pa nito, nautusan daw ang sekretaryo ng sanggunian, na huwag ipaalam o ipahiwatig sa ating alkalde, o sa mga kinatawan ng ehekutibo, na magkakaron ng committee hearing sa kanilang mga opisina.

Hindi ba ito pambabastos? 

Sana man lang, idinaan natin sa diplomasya, at pormal na paraan ng pagpapaalam, na tayo ay bibisita, at kung maaari, ay makikigamit ng  kanilang mga opisina, upang makapagtanong sa kanila. 

Ganon na ba tayo kadesperado?  Ipinaiiral naba natin ang hindi pagrespeto sa iba? 

Para saan? 

Para maipasa ang resolusyon na ito upang makinabang ang sino?

At bakit ba tayo nagmamadali? 

Sa dinami dami ng isyus ng ating lungsod, sa dinami dami ng nagugutom at walang makain, naghihirap, at may sakit, itong nakaraang linggo, wala na tayong inatupag kung hindi ang mabilisang pagpasa ng resolusyon na ito. 

Sino ba ang naguudiyok sa inyo na madaliin ang resolusyon na ito? 

To our friends in the media here today, these are the questions that you should ask; the very questions that you should ask the authors of this resolution. 

The questions you should ask the majority. 

I know that my words here today fall on deaf ears, as far as this supposedly honorable august body is concerned. 

But hopefully, not on yours.

And through your voices and words, let the people know what is happening, make them understand, and let them form their own opinions. 

Sa ngayon, isa sa mga ikinalulungkot ko, ay ang mga balitang nagkaroon daw ng bayaran, na siya ang rason kung bakit binibilisan ang pagpasa ng resolusyon na ito. 

Sa pagkakataong ito, humihingi ako ng tulong sa mga kaibigan natin sa media, na huwag nang palakihin ang mga haka haka, na may nangyaring bayaran para ipasa ang resolusyon na ito.

Dahil kahit hindi tayo sumasangayon, sa mga kaibigan natin dito sa sanggunian, ukol sa resolusyon na ito, bilang isang institusyon ng ating gobyerno, kinakailangan pa rin nating protektahan at pangalagaan ang pangalan nito.

Let me also take this opportunity to address an issue that transpired during the joint committee hearing last Friday. 

During the course of the proceedings, I asked to be recognized by the chairmen of the committee in order that my voice be heard on the matter.

In a respectful manner, without using any obscene or foul language, without raising my voice, I manifested my reasons and legal justifications why I could no longer participate in the joint committee hearings.

It is only after I manifested my stand to the committee chairmen that I excused myself from the hearing. 

Yes, I did walk out.  But that is only half the story.  I walked out only after giving my reason. 

I did not walk out in protest as some would want to portray. 

I walked out because I could not be a part, of what I still believe, is a premature and therefore unconstitutional committee hearing.

But the story does not end there.  After leaving the session hall, a motion was carried to strike off the record my reasons for not participating in the hearings.

Yes, a duly-elected city councilor of this city cannot even have his opinions and statements be made part of the record in a joint committee hearing.

So here it is today, let the entirety of my privilege speech be put on record, as my continuing objection to draft resolution no. R-4688, not only for today’s session but also as part of that ready-made committee report.

And if for some tyrannical reason this speech does not make it into the record, do not worry, I made enough copies for everyone.

Maraming salamat po.

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