A lonesome voice in the Senate intones a dissonant note. It pricks people’s ear like the chirp of a bubbly bird from a tree. It’s an uncommon sound that does not happen often --- a tweet that resonates.
Sen. Joker Arroyo chirps: “The Senate has become accuser, prosecutor and judge at the same time.”
He didn’t mince words. But criminals and innocents have started pointing fingers at each other.
The criminals said the good senator is critical of Senate procedures and how the chamber has deteriorated from an assembly of elder statesmen to a panel of eager dis-believers looking for witches and undesirable characters by upending tables and chairs and poking into the cracks on the floor and the walls. “He decries the witch-hunting,” the criminals said.
The innocents disagree. They said the good senator is serving a warning to the criminals. “He is actually saying:’ if you violate the law, you will not be charged in court. You will be cast to the custody of smiling senators,’” the innocents said.
A sober voice comes from one unbelieving wife. She tells her philandering husband: “If you continue to lie to me, I will petition for a senate investigation and hope that they will take you under custody.”
People were not surprised when the Senate recently ordered the guards to detain a woman bookkeeper for allegedly lying because senators would not accept her answers as truthful during intense interrogation. Rowena del Rosario, bookkeeper of the company owned by the family of Jose Miguel Arroyo, husband of former President Gloria Arroyo, was cited for contempt.
The Senate was investigating allegations that the former First Gentleman and his brother, Rep. Ignacio Arroyo, sold used helicopters to the Philippine National Police at a big overprice. The Arroyos (no relation to Sen. Joker Arroyo) denied the charges.
Sen. Joker Arroyo said his colleagues accused Del Rosario of lying because they did not hear from her what they wanted to hear. On the charge that Del Rosario is lying, he chirps: “Who will be the judge of that?”
Sen. Arroyo may have failed to drown out the booming baritones and shrill falsettos of high-strung senators. But, like a bird that has the advantage of flying to a high branch and singing to those around, instead of chirping near the ground where the range is limited, the good senator knows his audience is just around.
People around him, around the country and around the world hear his message. His tweets are carried by the wind far and wide.
He called the recent Senate investigation into alleged irregularities in the past administration as a “fishing expedition” to pin down officials suspected of involvement in graft and corruption. “It’s okay if you dig deeper in some anomalies – that’s the purpose of in aid of legislation. Honestly, have we really made legislation as a consequence of the hearings,” he told a radio interview.
Arroyo said former defense secretary Angelo Reyes committed suicide apparently out of embarrassment caused to him by the Senate inquiry on his alleged illegal wealth. He surmised that a recent Senate exposé also drove Development Bank of the Philippines lawyer Benjamin Pinpin to commit suicide.
The senator said the Senate has not churned out laws based on its inquiries. He said even the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice has not acted on the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Committees reports. “The Senate has become a half-way house for resource persons turned whistle-blowers,” Arroyo said.
People don’t expect the Senate to change its manner of working because a bird is chirping about senators going on fishing expeditions and witch-hunting and causing people to commit suicide.
But a bird can gather a flock and turn into a swarm. The chirp can turn into a gaggle of chirping birds and clucking, quacking fetid fowls. It will be an uncommon sound that will grate the ears. Who knows what will happen next?*