Editorial: Talking too much, acting too slow, and doing too little

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Monday, February 3, 2014

IT WAS brazen, but he included himself in the blame, and so while senators and Cabinet members attending the Senate hearing were uncomfortable, they cannot do anything but try to look unaffected.

That was the general perception of those watching the live airing of the Senate hearing on rice smuggling when Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said, “The problem with the government is that we talk too much, act too slow, and do too little.”

“We,” he said, sharing the blame. Thus, while feather were ruffled, no one could cry foul.


It’s not new. Just about every adult who have had to deal with government must have at one time or more near-pulled his/her hair out in frustration. It was just very refreshing to hear it in the august hall of the Senate in their face. The audacity was worth waiting for.

We know that nothing will come out of it. It’s much like sticking one’s middle finger up in the air in anger. The temporary relief it brings, however, is indeed refreshing.

Now onto the real issue on hand: talking too much, acting too slow, and doing too little.

The first government activity that comes to mind when all three are lumped together is just what we have witnessed, Senate hearings.

True, it’s always in aid of legislation. But, we also know that in issues like rice smuggling and even the multi-billion pork barrel scam of the now unheard of Janet Lim Napoles require the enforcement arm of the law and not legislation. There are now enough laws to lock these people in jail for good, the first thing to do, however, is file airtight cases.

Nobody seems interested in filing the formal complaints in court. They’d rather talk it over in the Senate, which cannot even recommend a case to be filed. It was also fascinating how Justice Secretary Leila de Lima just as fast said that they will arrest the accused after the hearing, when before today’s hearing where the mayor fired off that cloaked insult, she was busy talking to the media attacking the mayor for his audacity.

Just as fast too, de Lima is now parroting what the mayor had been chiding her to do, to arrest Bangayan and challenge the arrest warrant that states, David Tan who is not David Bangayan, when claimed names are nothing to positive identification by a witness. The witness has been there all along, but de Lima was more interested in castigating the mayor. Now, right after the hearing, she is quoted as saying, "We were advised by the executive judge that the original warrant of arrest, even if it says 'David Tan who is not Davidson Bangayan' can serve now as the basis for the immediate arrest of Davidson Bangayan because of the additional proof that we have on his identity."

That, coming from the Justice Secretary?

Does it need a cloaked insult to spur action? If it does, then that’s a wasteful way of enforcing laws: to call a Senate hearing where somebody drops an insult so as to spur the insulted to action.

As the mayor said, "What this country needs under the prevailing conditions is not more laws but more good men in public service."

For all that it has cost us, the taxpayers, we can console ourselves with the fact that yesterday’s Senate hearing was entertaining, especially for us Dabawenyos who were rooting for our mayor and laughing our hearts out with every feather-ruffling statement the mayor dropped.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 04, 2014.


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