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Sep 14

ecriminalize

In ABS-CBNNEWS.COM, Today Newspaper comes out with an elaboration and in support of some of the points raised in my Monday column.

However, in A Sassy Lawyer in Philippine Suburbia, the Sassy Lawyer takes a contrary position.

Interesting! Incidentally, I met Rep. Diaz last night on Tina Monzon Palma’s show. He is apparently the nephew of President Ramon Magsaysay. This is around his 6th or so time to serve in Congress, he was first elected in 1969 in the old premartial law Congress, served in the Batasan, and was elected again for 3 terms under the present constitution, took a a 3 year break due to term limits, and is now on his first of three allowable successive terms. He is 77 years old.

Last night he announced he was unequivocably withdrawing his resignation from the House, and chuckled at all the fuss created. My reading based on our discussions is that he really resigned because (in order of importance):

1. When a congressman has to sit out a term, because of term limits, and then returns to the House, his seniority is calculated not on the total number of years served in the legislature, but on present consecutive terms. Thus, having not been in the House 3 years, Rep. Diaz is now considered a neophyte, while in the old days his seniority would be calculated from the terms he served since 1969. This is indeed a deviation from traditional House practice.

2. Because of being considered a neophyte, he wasn’t offered any “good” committees. In most legislatures, committee chairmanships (where the prestige or the money are) are determined by seniority.

3. He’s an old pro and simply enjoyed throwing everyone into confusion by suddenly saying he was going to resign.

No other reasons, rhetoric aside. Funny man, actually, and clever in the old school way.

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