We have to hand it to the pro-Impeachment Reps. It is hard to mount a fight like this without sincerity and commitment. Many detractors have said that the likes of Chiz and Alan Peter are doing this to further their political careers. Who cares? There are easier ways to doing that, just ask the anti-Impeach group. We care more about the passion and dedication they and the rest of the pro-Impeach Team have poured into this fight. Their careful planning, employing, pretty much, a no-frills strategy, paralleled our aims. These men and women gladly joined us in this undertaking, choosing, as Neric Acosta said, "the hard right over the easy wrong" at great cost to themselves, their families and constituencies. And we still have a ways to go.
We cannot thank them enough, our champions, our voices in the House. We salute their resolute resolve. Through them, we got to prove that justice does not reside in the House of Representatives. It is true that our institutions have been eroded and made ineffective. It is true that in this country, lying, cheating, stealing and killing are not impeachable offenses.
After the ruckus, as we hugged and shook hands with our Reps, I spotted Chiz, alone in a corner. Amidst all the hullaballoo, there he was, smoking a cigarette, quietly thinking ahead.
But you didn't expect the white envelopes, did you?
One of the most rigid rules a citizen must endure while in the House gallery is the imposition of silence. That restriction's harder to take than not being able to bring in water (imposed during the last SONA) or food. The audience is muzzled, unable to comment on the proceedings, at most able only to whisper comments among themselves. A Congressman was heard to have said that people in the gallery are "guests". In one sense that may be true, but who really "owns" the House of Representatives? But that's another idea to be fleshed out another time. The point is this - no matter how much you want to join the "discussion", you can't or you'll be thrown out.
So how do you show your support or disgust? How best to make your feelings known and not get booted out? The CEGP unfurled poster sized slogans which were torn from their hands. If it wasn't for the intervention of some Reps, they'd have been made to leave. Applause is a no no, tsk tsk. Even the taciturn duo of Randy David and Bien Lumbera, irrepressible Josie Lichauco, and the elegant Nini Quezon Avancena need to express their indignation.
And so, in tribute to "the second envelope", we brought out our white enve... este... fans! Although broken later, we agreed not to write anything on them. They were just your run of the mill postal envelopes. When asked to explain, we complained that the airconditioners weren't doing their job, the "hot air" was stifling, so we needed to fan ourselves. Imagine our surprise when the anti-impeachment Reps took offense! At what? Empty white envelopes? They were so insulted, they actually walked out! But not before Luis Villafuerte did a "Tessie Oreta" and waved his handkerchief around to taunt us.
Another much aggrieved Rep was Rudy Antonino. Standing a good fifteen feet away from us, he bellowed, "I dare you to accuse me on camera!" to no one in particular. No one in particular bothered. The media ignored him because Sandra Cam was much better copy at the time. Super K, aka Mikey Arroyo, fled to the other end of the hall, standing around, looking unsure of where to run. Uncle Iggy was nowhere to be found! Seemingly too overwhelmed by being confronted with some uncomfortable truth, the Gloria Mob fled!
So how do you empty the Plenary Hall of pro-Glo Representatives? You wave white envelopes.