Embattled Senator Bong Revilla who is fighting for his political life, and freedom, took to the Senate podium to rally his supporters. Rappler sums it up in their headline: “Revilla privilege speech turns into a show“.
A privilege speech is a right of every legislator. They can step into the podium and say anything they want without fear of being sued, for example. There is a good reason for this. They can launch expose, after expose and not be held for libel, for example. They can talk about anything without being prevented to speak.
What gets into people’s nerves is that this privileged is being used in defense of Bong Revilla’s political survival. The senator is being accused of stealing the people’s money. And he is using the people’s money to shore up his defense. What irks people is that this is insensitive to public sentiment. A press conference would have sufficed, and not waste people’s money.
The people pay for a legislator’s privilege speech because it is the People’s dime being spent to operate all the cogs that go with it. What irks people is the inanity of it all. We expect our senators to be men and women of stature. To imagine them to be giants, with speeches of eloquence that make us proud to have voted for them.
Not like this. Privileged speeches have been turned as a poor excuse for entertainment. And it isn’t even good entertainment.
Perhaps, we have been spoiled by Game of Thrones. We expect entertainment to thrill, to surprise us. We half expected Bong Revilla to call for a Trial of Combat, but it was not to be. We expect honor amongst thiev— sorry— amongst leaders. And we are clearly disappointed that our taxes pay for inanity.
The likes of Bong Revilla clearly show the lack of impropriety. They think it is their privilege to rule, forgetting that being senator ought to mean service. That their job is to advance the interest of the public, and not their own self-interest. Then again, would a senator who believes in propriety, in the rule of law, in civility be held accused of stealing the people’s money?
Why Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, Janet Lim Napoles, and others? Because they’re the ones who got caught. They’re the ones with evidence that prosecutors believe could convict. Most certainly, it is foolish to think they’re the only ones, or that with those people punished, we can all sing Kumbaya. That wouldn’t be real either.
The speech trolled us all. And maybe that thrilled Revilla to stick it to the taxpayer once again. A dirty finger, a figurative belat to all sanity. It was after all, incredibly selfish.
Bong Revilla’s primary audience for his privileged song isn’t for the likes of you or me. It wasn’t meant for the taxpayer seeking the best bang for their buck. No. It was meant to shore up Revilla’s supporters; to lift his spirit up. The privileged speech was for Bong Revilla.
The sad truth is that there is no law or rule that prevents a senator from being creative in his speech. There is no rule or law that prevents a Senator from using the podium hopefully reserved for grave matters of state, and instead be used for mundane matters or even political survival. In the same respect there is no law on stupidity, or moronism. It doesn’t mean that you should aspire to stupidity, or moronism either.