Raffy Tulfo restrained, Senators wish

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Critics describe neophyte Senator Raffy Tulfo as a weirdo. He almost crossed swords with everybody, from lady senators Cynthia Villar, Loren Legarda, Abby Binay, and even Pia Cayetano. Lately, he also had a tiff with Senator Bato de la Rosa, with whom Raffy formerly shared an ideological bed during the time of former president Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Many columnists and political observers think Raffy is on a suicide mission. In his desire to convey the myriad of social, economic, and political problems he heard about or were shared by others to him, Raffy thinks of using his political pulpit as his amplification channel, the same way he conducts his TV5 show, Raffy in Action. Call it neophyte jitters, but some Senate insiders think Raffy is wantonly spending his political capital. Why? By alienating his colleagues, Raffy risks not getting the right amount of political support from these Senators, who already institutionalized themselves as preservers and promoters of this filthy and self-destructive kind of democracy. Does Raffy have to fear anything?

I don’t think so. Raffy is doing precisely what is expected of him as an eminent member of this august chamber called the Senate.

A senator’s job is to identify and make serious public exposes of several law infractions, injustices, and extreme abuse of power in our society. Raffy is doing exactly his job—when he put Cynthia Villar on the spot on the conversion of farmlands to Villar subdivisions or when he also exposed Loren as a defender of the ongoing and so-called mismanagement leading to corruption of the TUPAD program of the Department of Labor and Employment or DOLE. Sometimes, his over-eagerness may have created a misperception of him as a crusader in a misplaced venue. Still, other than this, Raffy’s job is what he does at the Senate—make uncomfortable expose of what’s happening on the ground.

Like his brother, Erwin, Raffy has all the good intentions, and his heart is always in the right place. By attacking Raffy and even trying to alienate him, we see a conscious effort to dilute the idealism and transform him into what Senators have already become—institutional political brand names protecting the interests of Oligarchs. We see how deeply these Senators had capitulated themselves to save this Republic with all its pus, faults, and garbage.

We don’t expect anything good to come out from these senators. Many believe these senators, especially the Villars, are just there to protect their billion-dollar business empire. Decades ago, we voted for Loren Legarda because she advocated change. Sadly though, Legarda has been there for decades, and we see no progress even on the environmental front, which she supported for several decades. The fact is, deforestation of our forests, loss of our virgin forests, mining even of our shorelines, and loss of our wild habitat remain unchecked by our environmental department.

How about Senator Pia Cayetano? And Abby Binay? And, of course, our young Bicolano politician in the persona of Chiz Escudero, who in the past shouted for a council to govern this country? Where are the romantic elements of the Senate? Nada.

There is no hope anymore from these senators. They have been desensitized so much that they are simply of hard hearing. And when someone like Raffy tries to articulate the muted voices of the masses, these senators gang up on him and want nothing more than put him in chains. No, we don’t want that. But this is political reality.

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