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Commentary: Three questions, three committees

By Bong Pedalino

Tacloban City (6 September) -- When all the fireworks of bargaining and haggling on the Garci issue at the Senate were over, a typical compromise was finally agreed.

Okay. The Garci probe will proceed but the wiretapped tape will not be played, or will be shelved for the moment until the need arises in the course of the Senate investigation -- and only when that time comes shall it be passionately debated again whether to play it or not. (Whew! Is this not goobledygook in action?)

And okay. The Garci probe can proceed but the Upper House will not be formed as a Committee of the whole; instead, the thrilling whodunit task will be taken up by three committees -- Electoral Reforms, Defense, and Blue Ribbon.


The intention of the inquiry, the nation is told, rests on the type of committee, but carried out in aid of legislation, the much-abused phrase these days in this part of planet Earth.

In essence, three questions are on top of the agenda: who ordered the wiretapping and the "wisdom" of the operation (if it has any wisdom at all); what were the probable wrongdoings committed by public officials (as if an unauthorized wiretapping is not by itself a wrongdoing); and cleansing the electoral system (hey, there's a law on computerized or automated polls already).

Anyway, despite this author's comments inside the parenthesis, the objective sounded well and good. Yet a cursory look on the supposed list of personalities who may be paraded and grilled at the hot seat looked so familiar, more-of-the-same genre, save one or two new faces.

One cannot help but wonder if the upcoming inquiry will not be a waste of time, an exercise in futility, doomed right from the start.


Can't the Senators institute much-needed electoral changes without busying themselves with the worn-out Garci issue? Can they not enact measures limiting the military's involvement in elections without dipping their hands with Garci? And can they not pinpoint culpability for serious, wayward electoral acts without messing it up with Garci?

Of course they can do it sans the Garci treat hanging over their heads, what with competent staff to do the homework for them. But in so doing there will be no television cameras rolling, no still cameras clicking, no live press coverage monitoring their every gesture matched with appropriate facial expression, no free, on-the-spot publicity in tri-media.

Grandstanding is the name of the game, courtesy of the Garci revival, whether the nation cares to listen or not.


LOCAL FRONT: People in the provinces, many of them, have been disinterested with the Garci row. In Southern Leyte province, for instance, the focus has been to ensure that development priorities are in order and carried out for the next three years. The workshop two weeks ago that conducted a performance review of the provincial development plan was a step on this direction. The dialogue between the provincial officials and GTZ this week was done on a similar goal also. So the hard part on how to realize planned projects, thrusts, and programs is what pre-occupied the legislative and executive branches of the local government units nowadays.

ODDLY YOURS: Words that are misspelled sometimes can annoy us, or distract our reading. But language experts agree that even if the spelling of a word is wrong it can still be readable and understandable, its meaning unchanged, so long as the first and last letters are correctly placed. This is an itnerseting fcat. Accdrnig to a rshceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in what order the ltteers in a wrod are, the only iprmoetnt thing is that the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. Dseptie the mses you can sittl raed it wouthit porbelm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig! Got it? (Actually, I had a hard time doing this because the computer automatically corrects some wrong spelling.) (PIA) [top]

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