Sure, we lost. Again. But that really doesn't matter, losing didn't come as a surprise to us. None of the Complainants, Endorsers or Representatives were under any illusion of winning because we knew we were going against a woman backed by power, money and paranoia. We didn't have the money to stuff into brown envelopes that were distributed out of sight in the lounge behind the Speaker's rostrum. We were in no position to promise these men and women of the Majority an appointment to the Court of Appeals, the write off of huge gambling debts, cushy positions in government, or massive support of their wives or husbands in the 2007 elections.
We respect and admire the men and women of the Lower House that decided to choose selflessness over selfishness, the hard right over the easy wrong. They did this for us, we believe that. Here they are:
1. Rep. Henedina Abad
2. Rep. Nereus Acosta
3. Rep. Benjamin Agarao
4. Rep. Mario Aguja
5. Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara
6. Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio
7. Rep. Agapito Aquino
8. Rep. Benigno Aquino III
9. Rep. Teddy Casiño
10. Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano
11. Rep. Justin Marc Chipeco
12. Rep. Francis Escudero
13. Rep. Roilo Golez
14. Rep. Teofisto Guingona III
15. Rep. Mujiv Hataman
16. Rep. Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel
17. Rep. Ruy Elias Lopez
18. Rep. Renato Magtubo
19. Rep. Manuel Mamba
20. Rep. Imee Marcos
21. Rep. Rafael Mariano
22. Rep. Liza Maza
23. Rep. Florencio Noel
24. Rep. Saturnino Ocampo
25. Rep. Rodolfo Plaza
26. Rep. Gilbert Remulla
27. Rep. Etta Rosales
28. Rep. Rolex Suplico
29. Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III
30. Rep. Joel Villanueva
31. Rep. Joel Virador
32. Rep. Ronaldo Zamora
The much maligned Impeachment Legal Team must also be thanked. They did their best, and continue to work, gathering even more evidence against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
As for the Majority, there is no need to list them. They are best forgotten. Remember those who supported us instead.
But I will at least say something about the Reps that didn't show up. They should remain absent, there should be no room in the House for cowards. Forgive me, I truly have no more patience for reasons like "kawawa naman ang constituents ko", or "am being pressured by my family", etcetera etcetera etcetera. We gave 13 of them caps that had "bayani" printed on them after last year's impeachment loss. I hope they have the "delicadeza" not to wear them.
Here are some of the sidelights to last night's nominal vote:
- Nini Quezon Avancena held all of us up by refusing to leave and staying till the last vote was counted. She is all of 85 years young, and despite the uncomfortable seats and the 16 hour wait, she showed no signs of weakness or exhaustion. When she first arrived, I had been seething about the Majority's not keeping to their promise of assuring us seats in the Plenary Hall. Tita Nini said, never mind, let's just go up there and find room. She was not about to be intimidated into waiting around the Minority Office. Tita Nini provided us all the strength we needed.
- The galleries were overflowing with people that had been bussed in by Majority Congs, mainly by Marcoleta. They arrived at 9am to make sure we'd have no space. Speaking to RG Cruz, I surmised that none of them knew what they were doing there in the first place. So he went around to get their comments. He returned to report that my suspicions were right - they had no idea about why they were being made to attend.
- Some of you may have heard about Mikey Arroyo's attempt at reconciliation last night by apporoaching us in the gallery. I was the only one that didn't turn away when he came over, Dinky was napping beside me (it was 4am) and Ging Deles was busy with her phone. He said something like, "Tita, come on naman, let's forget this" (I would like to point out that I am not his aunt, and have never had occasion to even be introduced to this boy). Having been raised to give due respect, I politely declined and said, "Kid, I can't do this, sorry. You should have inhibited yourself. Why can't you let this go through so we can be out of your hair? Sorry, I can't shake your hand." And so he walked away to play up the media. For me, there can never be reconciliation without justice.
- Rolex Suplico mentioned brown envelopes that were being distributed to Majority Reps throughout the night. He said they contained the CDF all Reps are entitled to. But none of the pro-Impeach Reps have gotten their allotments. We all saw the Congs saunter into the lounge behind the Speaker's rostrum throughout the night, ostensibly to receive their "pay off". One of them even waved his envelope in Neric Acosta's face. For shame!
- We saw Gabby Claudio lurking around the rostrum, probably sent by Gloria to make sure every Majority Rep remembered on which side their bread was buttered. Guess that was also why Andaya was hanging around.
- We spotted Raul Gonzales on the plenary floor. EEK!
- Cong. Roman tried the dramatic approach by asking to explain his vote early due to a bad heart. We sympathize with his medical condition but are not moved by his plea to be understood for changing his vote. His wife needs his CDF to run for Congress in his place.
- Cong. Susano seemed to be wracked by guilt. She actually greeted those of us who were left in the gallery during her explanation, after which she came over and actually apologized! She even brought over chocolates as a peace offering, which we gave to the media instead. I'm sorry, three chocolate bars and an apology don't erase the fact that she voted to supress the truth.
- While explaining his vote, Nograles said there would be no more chance of another Impeachment against GMA because the Congress would be defunct by 30 June 2007. Watch out, boys and girls - the bogus People's Initiative and Cha Cha are looming. Do you really want Charter Change under GMA and suffer this very group of people in government forever? You just witnessed what a parliamentary government composed of these bozos would be like. Shudder.
And so, the Impeachment was murdered in the House. More importantly, this killing only proves that justice does not reign in the House of Representatives and all constitutional means to redress of our grievances against this administration have been blocked. We remain ready to file another Complaint. But for as long as the terrible apathy that has diseased our nation continues to fester, we are in for an even harder fight.