point of order my a@#$%^&*(

Point of order: a term of parliamentary law and procedure which refers to an interjection during a meeting by a member, who does not have the floor, to call the attention of the chair to an alleged violation or breach of the assembly’s or meeting’s rules of order.

Source: duhaime.org (highlight mine)

MAKATI, Philippines – The hearings of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms have taken on the feel of an inquisition with the COMELEC and SMARTMATIC-TIM on the receiving end. I have to say that I felt very aggrieved (and I’m not even a participant) when “Governor” Ace Barbers managed to shut James Jimenez up as he was putting kibosh to the election fraud allegation of losing Ang Kapatiran senatorial bet Grace Plazo.

Barbers interrupts James by raising a point of order to which the esteemed Rep. Thomas Dumpit, Jr. replies – “I am sorry Governor Barbers, you are out order as you are not a member of this Committee.

HA! IN MY DREAMS!!!

As Ron Cruz of ANC Tweeted – “i didn’t even know a GOVERNOR may be able to ask for a point of order.”

The over-matched Rep. Dumpit actually sustains Gov. Barbers and proceeds to call on the next loser, err complainant to “vent”. I guess that’s what they call the “home court advantage”.

That’s the problem with this hearing. They (the Committee) don’t really seem to know why they’re there and conducting this farce in the first place. Okay, I’ve heard the “for complainants to vent” and the “in aid of legislation” excuses or reasons. Let’s look at those two.

For complainants to vent. It seems to me to be a denigration of Congress to be the forum for losing electoral candidates to vent. Why should they be given that opportunity there?

In aid of legislation. This would be well and good if we can actually divine from the proceedings that legislation will be aided. I would think such a noble goal (assuming we’re not kidding ourselves here) should be predicated on the Committee leadership being clear about this goal and actually policing the “resource persons” who have been invited to testify. We can’t have these largely unsubstantiated, mainly illogical and sometimes incoherent allegations go unfettered. I mean – how can these aid legislation if these allegations are not supported by plausible (o – hindi pa nga irrefutable) evidence, common sense and grounded in logic.

Ha! In my dreams talaga!

Going back to Barbers, I actually think that there is some merit into looking at his allegations. His thesis is that there was cheating because he, his running mate and the 21 mayoral candidates in his ticket all lost in their province. Of course, I’m not from his province so I can’t say whether such a sweep is possible or not but a typical person would say that – medyo mahirap naman mangyari yung ganun. So let’s have the appropriate authorities investigate these allegations while Barbers should earnestly document his case.

I would have been fine with that. Barbers couldn’t help himself, however, and tries to support his case with a tale about being approached by operators offering to rig the election in his slate’s favor for P50 million. I’m tempted to ask where was he going to get this kind of money? I mean if somebody approaches you like that they should have some clue of his ability to pay, right? Is government service really that lucrative (wink, wink)? Ok, ok – I’m speculating. Sorry, Ace.

Seriously, he should have had those people arrested right then and there. The least he could have done is inform the COMELEC “PRIOR” to the elections of this intent to commit electoral fraud. If I remember correctly, the oath of office for public officials goes something like this:

“…to uphold and defend the Constitution; to bear true faith and allegiance to it; obey the laws, legal orders and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; will well and faithfully discharge to the best of my ability the duties of the office; and that I voluntarily assume the obligation imposed by his oath of office, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

I presume that as Governor part of the duties of his office is to uphold all laws and to cause the arrest of any and all who violate the law. So, when he chose to keep silent over what he alleges now – was Governor Barbers derelict in his duty to uphold the law?

With the seeming eloquence of Governor Barbers (notwithstanding the not so subtle put-downs by Teddy Boy), I wasn’t surprised when Rep. Mat Defensor and Laguna Governor Teresita Lazaro “corroborated’ the allegation of Gov. Barbers in lemming-like fashion. You know what they say about those lemmings (these small rodents of the Arctic tundra), they’ll follow those in front of them even if it’s off the top of a cliff.

To the meticulous among you, okay the lemming mass suicide is a myth but hey – somehow, the fiction seems more apropos than the facts in this case (if you know what I mean).

As for shutting James up, let me remind the good governor that he has no standing with the Committee other than as a resource person. As such, you cannot dictate how the hearings should go regardless of whether you are right or not (hard to decipher if Committee members don’t know what it’s about in the first place). The COMELEC, SMARTMATIC-TIM and other resource persons have as much right to whatever the losers, err complainants are allowed by the Committee. If these other people are not allowed to speak, how are they going to be able to aid legislation? Just because what they say makes more sense than what you say doesn’t give you the right to raise a point of order (ay – hindi ka pala talaga puwede mag-raise ng Point of Order at all). The esteemed Rep. Dumpit won’t be there all the time for you to get away with stuff.

And to Rep. Susano, could you kindly just stop. Please take your complaint to the COMELEC. If you can’t even understand why you were asked about your possession of STOLEN property (I take your word, they’re real), then just shush. And, don’t think you’ll be thought of as a hero for going to jail. To paraphrase Atty. Makalintal (can’t believe I’m actually attributing to this guy), you deserved to lose for committing the crime of omission.

Finally, a POINT OF ORDER – let me remind the kind Governor of the province of Surigao del Norte of his promise – no – his COMMITMENT to Congressman Locsin to name the operator who approached him and to produce those meteorological reports showing it only rained in the precincts he considers his bailiwicks. Don’t disappoint me – Ace. Be a man of your word.

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