"How about opposing the tyranny of the majority?"
I seldom endorse any political candidate but I’ll make an exception in the case of Buhay Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza. He is undoubtedly one of the few standup guys in the House who will oppose bad laws from being railroaded by the tyranny of the majority.
While other members of the House went along with the tide on the issue of federalism, Charter change and insertions in the national budget, Atienza stood his ground against these proposals that would benefit the congressmen. On federalism, Atienza decried the manner the move was passed in the Lower House at the exclusion of the people whom he said should have been consulted. Sans fanfare, the House members formed themselves into a Constituent Assembly on the pretext that it would save the government money if a constitutional convention is held.
“Save money?” Atienza asked, pointing out that the government is wasting more funds on less important things, so why not spend on a participatory and democratic issue as Con-Con?
Hopefully, he expressed the view that federalism won’t pass in the Senate. He claimed that even most of the majority who approved it do not really understand the implication of federalism.
“Federalism is going to impact the lives of the people, not to mention the cost of carrying out the implementing rules and regulation or IRR,” Atienza pointed out. The citizenry is already under heavy burden from the cost of living brought about by the TRAIN law and the excise tax on fuel.
The nearly month-long protests on the street of Paris was triggered by the heavy tax on fuel, he pointed out as he voiced concern the same thing could happen here.
Atienza is also against charter change which the House is pushing. Again, he laments that charter change is being done at the exclusion of the people. Fortunately, changes in the Constitution will still have to be submitted to the people for approval in a plebiscite. Atienza said he will take to the streets with the people to protest charter change which shelved the abolition of political dynasties.
Political dynasties perpetuate a family’s grip on power, making the same people stay in public office for the rest of their lives. Hence, we have the same last names of candidates on election ballots.
Atienza also voted against the extension of martial law in Mindanao as he pointed the manpower resources of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police should be enough to fight the communist New People’s Army and terrorists in Mindanao. That our law enforcers still needed another year of martial law in Mindanao attest to their underperformance.
Asked why he did not run for mayor in Manila where he served two terms, Atienza joked, “I’m under age, as if to stress that the two main mayoral rivals—Joseph Estrada and Fred Lim—are 80 plus and 90, respectively. “Don’t ask me who of them wear pampers,” he chuckled.
Atienza also differed with Miss Philippines Catriona Gray who was recently crowned Miss Universe.
“While I’m happy for Catriona winning and making every Filipino proud, I do not agree with her view on the use of marijuana even in moderation. Its recreational use is only a step away from trying the more serious illegal drugs.” He said even for medical purposes, modern medicine has come up with new drugs to take instead of the addictive marijuana.
Why did Atienza opt to stay on as party-list representative instead of making a return run as mayor of Manila? He replied that he could serve the country’s interest better if he is on a national level as member of the House considering the issues currently being pushed in the lower chamber. This is where it all starts; we have to head them off before these important issues reach the Senate or go into referendum whose results could still be manipulated by the powers-that-be.
A veteran of the parliament of the streets during the Marcos martial law years, Atienza vowed to take to streets again if only to be on the side of the people.
And that is why we the people need someone like Lito Atienza at the House of Representatives.