AS members of the 13th Congress intensify their campaign in their respective districts, the PCIJ looks at the legacy they leave behind vis-a-vis the budgetary support that we, as taxpayers, provided them.

House of RepresentativesIn this special report, some lawmakers themselves admit the 13th Congress was “dismal” in performance, having passed the lowest number of bills of both national and local importance since 1987. Of the 84 bills it was able to enact into law, only 32 were of national significance.

With a budget of P12.51 billion over the past three years, each law cost taxpayer about P148.94 million. It also failed at its most basic function: that of approving the national budget on time.

The numbers provide an insight into the workings and failures of the Lower House, which for the past three years had to deal with two impeachment proceedings borne by the “Hello Garci” tapes. Lawmakers also held lengthy sessions for debates on proposals to amend the Constitution.

With this report, we hope to arm the electorate with more information about those seeking their votes in the May elections.

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4 Responses to 13th Congress: A dismal legislative legacy


Ambuot Saimo

April 24th, 2007 at 12:34 am

The main reason why the 13th Congress’ failed to deliver can be discribe in three words – BECAUSE OF GLORIA. Not the heaven type of Gloria but the hellish one:

BECAUSE OF GLORIA: The opposition in congress pre-occupied itself in its futile attempt to redeem and restore the image and dignity of the Filipino before the whole world as the most stoic (manhid) race in the world by letting an un-elected occupy the highest office of the land through manipulation of the election result; and BECAUSE OF GLORIA: The administration piranhas a.k.a congressmen who felt energized after consuming a lot of “baboy” a.k.a. pork doubly busied themselves defending their Madame from being evicted out of the Palace;

BECAUSE OF GLORIA: These same Piranhas tried to legitimized an illegimimate president and permanently inshrine Her in the corridors of Malacanang via a constitutional amendment not through a con-com but by a selected con-ass literally rubbing salt to the wounds of the Filipino electorates; and BECAUSE OF GLORIA: the opposition tried to block this diabolic scheme not through the halls of the administration-dominated lower house but by harnessing public opnion.

BECAUSE OF GLORIA: Congress’ busied itself on endless investigations involving endless allegations of corruptions, illegalities and abuses of issuing Executive Orders (EOs), etc.

BECAUSE OF GLORIA: The Philippines will not move forward. Gloria is the main “PROBLEM”. So long as she remains empersonating as President, the contry will not move on. Hopefully, we will get enough courageous men and women on the next congress who will finally solve this problem. And, with this in mind, I think we should also amend the Revised Penal Code: At present, when a person impersonates say, a policeman, that person can be arrested and jailed but when a person impersonates as President of the Republic of the Philippines no penalty.

To parodize a famous Pinoy, ” I would rather live in Hell than in Gloria-Pinas.”



May 23rd, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Deteriorating performance it seems but our 13th Congress was the worst performing Congress so far since 1986. Going back to the events that have happened during the past months, what had been prioritized was to calm the opposition of its clamor for impeachment, to regain power, obviously backed by the “one” who was impeached himself the last time. The first venue, of course, as always been the modus operandi since Marcos, was the press, the media, to stir up public clamor. “People power” had been the coveted tool to once again remove the one occupying the highest office in the land. But the people did not buy the issue. It was not actually because the spirit of “people power” died as part of political evolution; it might be that the issue laid on the public was not so much convincing and most of the people thought it was just a waste of time and money. Given that Arroyo cheated the 2004 elections, it did not mean that she lost the elections. Different exit polls conducted at that time by some organizations that are anti-Arroyo today, agree with this (even Solita Monsod would). The fact remains that she won the 2004 elections. Undoubtedly, many who voted for her last 2004 may have changed his mind today, and even if he was included in the survey that sends a message for Arroyo to step down, his vote last 2004 did not change at all.
The unverified “people power” (I say unverified since no legal documentation at all, like the ballots and obvious participation by majority of the people except the surveys) was used by the opposition to pursue with the impeachment (again), not minding the future impact of this in the Philippine economy. So for the third year, the budget was reenacted (although for the meantime) even after we felt the effects of the reenacted budget of the last Congress (which is due to the long process of impeachment procedure). For two years, the opposition was looking back at the last 2004 elections, instead of looking forward for the future of the economy, like building more roads to at least benefit the people from Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan who are working in NCR, of the everyday mind boggling and exhausting traffic. What was obvious in their outlook? POWER PLAY. Instead on deliberating and using their nicely, properly, well-said, emotion-appealing speeches on the issues of the proposed budget to pump prime the economy, they spend more time on issues that did not benefit the lives of the people. Of course, common people would not notice this, being fed by the media everyday by these “no-benefit” issues, and moved subliminally by them. Recent political events being watched as similar to soap operas, pleasant to their senses, and obviously affected their decisions like in their votes. What is “popular” is being equated right now to what is “right” as too much democracy being exercised here.
Watching this midterm elections offshore (obviously I was not able to vote due to family-over-country hierarchy), as I can see the perpetrators of the “looking-back” attitude are now elevated to the Senate, joining hands with other ambitious fellows of the highest office of the land, I can only sit back in frustration and say, how poor educated Filipinos are being used by traditional politicians, only that they have new faces, as the more deserving candidates are being left out. Why choose Allan Cayetano who spoke more on Tagalog (obviously to win the common people to his side), who just raised issues like the “lack-of-evidence” German bank account instead of raising issues on how does the DPWH will spend its allocated budget, than Mike Defensor who has proven his worth as part of the Cabinet? Obviously because Defensor is identified with Arroyo. And so what is actually the obvious fight here, in this election, is between Arroyo and Estrada. So another question, Why choose the “stealer of the money” than the “stealer of the elections”? Obviously, the “stealer of the money” is more popular and therefore “right” (?) than the “stealer of the elections”. And the people will buy more on faces who shout out loud emotionally in front of the camera (this influence more the soap-opera mind of the common Filipino).
No wonder Filipinos in Singapore, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc. would rather stay in where they are rather than going back in the Philippines. And they have no interest in voting.


jeanette balledos

July 24th, 2007 at 1:45 pm

“A SINGLE law now costs the Filipino people about P148.94 million…”

As a student in high school, I have always wondered why we have over 200 representatives in our Congress. True, they represent each district of the 7,1001 islands of the country. But what have they done, really? Whenever a certain project is being done in any town, there’s always that huge advertisement stating, “A project of Representative so-and-so.” It’s as if Filipinos are obliged to be indebted to their Representatives in Congress for building bridges and skywalks and public schools when in reality, it’s you and me and 40 million like us who are being taxed 10-30% every month from our wages. I don’t think Representatives are that willing to shell out millions of pesos from their own pockets to have community projects done every year. If we are to compare how much Representatives are being paid a month as public officials and how much their assets worth, Congressmen ought to thank the Filipino people for being so ignorant — not dumb but ignorant, from the root word “ignore” who despite the fact that we’re all aware as to how Congressmen get to have their huge mansions and several luxurious vehicles, we choose to “look the other way” and keep on voting for them every election period. We’re not dumb, we’re not stupid. We’re just ignorant. And it’s costing us P148.94 billion for every single law — be it simple laws such as No Smoking in jeepneys or complicated laws such as Plunder or what have you. We are ignorant. Sad but true.

And what motivates these Representatives to run for politics over and over again? If it costs the Filipino people P148.94 billion to pass a single law, I have answered my own questions.

It’s a pity that we’re losing our integrity as a people. I don’t blame the government or the Constitution for the deteriorating of our morals and our ideals. Most people love to blame the President for everything. It’s as if the President needs to tell us when to wake up, when to take a bath, when to eat our meals, when to go to work, how we’re supposed to study in school, and how to raise our families. And when things don’t work as planned, we point the finger at her just so we have someone to blame for our frustrations. Is the President responsible for a student’s decision to cut classes and hang out with friends at the malls? Is the President liable for our actions and our choices? Did she tell us not to get married and not to have kids? True, she has her own imperfections. Name one President in the Philippines who was not corrupt and had no ulterior motives to cater his/her personal interests. And who’s fault is it when corrupt legislators sit in office? Yes, we are ignorant. Truth hurts because no matter how we try to twist the truth to favor our personal interests, truth always comes out in the end. And that’s the universal truth.



July 30th, 2007 at 4:25 am

jeanette balledos,

jeanette balledos,

I don’t think Filipinos are ignorant, helpless maybe, but ignorant they are not. Most are just as guilty as the one you are ranting about. They are as a matter of fact every bit a part and parcel of the whole. But you must remember, helplessness at the hands of the “ruling class” whether they are wielding the swords or controlling the businesses or the power of government among their own clans are akin to old Master and Slave era of the past. Maybe the country has not evolved beyond that era yet.

I have experienced both worlds, Ours and Where I am now. When you noted that a politician advertised the Project as his, that is because, he or she believes the Pork that was allocated are their personal instead for the Public. It should have been eliminated.

The Representatives or Congressmen, as the Member of Legislature, their responsibility should be to pass the law or to discuss and debates among themselves the proposed law to be enacted if they are in accordance with the Charter and will stand the challenge in proper courts.

That the project proposed by the executive branch or of any member of the Congress are properly budgeted and studied for propriety…

But as I said, as other nations, even our neighbors have fully matured, we are still teething, and the worst thing, we grow up not maturing in the Process….

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