By Mortz C. Ortigoza
"All politics is local, ” a famous phrase from my favorite humorous former U.S Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O'Neill where his book “Man of the House: The life and Political Memoirs of Speaker Tip O’Neill” I kept bragging to five-time Philippines' House Speaker Joe de Venecia whenever I was in a huddle with him.
“Yah, I met Democratic Party’s Speaker O’Neill “All politics is local” when I met then President Ronald Reagan in the White House,” the rabble rousing Philippine Speaker kept telling me.
Congressman Ace Barbers points a finger at the face of
RepresentativeProspero Pichay in a near fisticuffs that ensued
recently at the House of Representatives seen by millions of
television viewers. Photo Credit: ABS-CBN
Here’s the neophyte congressman’s son of Speaker Joe when I interviewed him about the “circus” in the House of Congress perpetrated by two solons whose hatred with each other hailed from local politics that Speaker O'Neill kept blaming, son of a gun, whenever political and economic situations in the Land of the Free and the Brave went south.
If House of Representatives’ Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez was ashamed by the near fisticuff of Congressmen Robert Barbers and Prospero Pichay Jr., a Pangasinan solon cited that there was bad blood between the duos that started in Surigao Province.
Barbers and Pichay are congressmen from the second and first Districts Of Surigao Province.
“That’s what I heard. Again, it was not firsthand information it was told to me. It also came out in the news,” declared by Congressman Christopher “Toff” de Venecia.
According to the Daily Inquirer, Pichay pitted candidates against the Barbers' clan following Robert's refusal to toe the line as member of the then ruling party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats when he signed the failed impeachment complaint against then president Gloria Arroyo, Pichay’s ally, in the middle of 2000s..
In 2007, former Surigao del Norte governor Lyndon Barbers lost his congressional bid against Guillermo Romarate Jr., while Robert won his gubernatorial bid.
It was in 2010 that the Barbers political rule in Surigao del Norte officially ended after Robert lost his reelection bid to Sol Matugas, and Lyndon his mayoralty bid to Ernesto Matugas.
Surigao del Norte was the bailiwick of the Barbers, before the patriarch former congressman and senator Robert Barbers died of heart attack in 2005.
Robert vied for the second district congressional bid in 2013 but lost to Romarate, who finished his three terms until 2016. Robert only regained the seat in 2016 after beating Mary Anne Lucille.
Although De Venecia was reluctant to comment on the brouhaha that lowered the reputation of the August Chamber before the eyes of the tens of millions of television viewers, the new solon said he was in a meeting with Barbers early of that day.
“We have a Dangerous Drugs Committee hearing; you know I don’t comment on that”.
He said Pichay was a friend and fellow member of the Committee on Sports where they both look for the development of the athleticism of young Filipinos.
“Ally ko rin siya in terms of development, iyong ating sports activity sa mga grass root programs natin. Siguro let the two men settle,” he stressed.
Before the near fistfight, Pichay in condescension would not allow fellow solons that included Barber to interrupt his motion.
Barber even asked the committee chairman not to entertain Pichay’s motion to invite the senators to deliberate on the revision of the constitution.
“This is a point of order. Let us not be entertaining senseless motions, those are stupid motions. Let’s not pretend to be constitutionalists here,” he said.
After a recess was called by the chairman, Barbers went to the seat of Pichay and cursed him.
“ ‘Put*** Ina mo, nagpe-pretend kang Constitutionalist ka [Son of a whore, you’re pretending to be a Constitutionalist],” he badmouthed.
Pichay throw the same ‘son of a whore” expletive to Barbers and even dared him to have a fisticuffs in the August Chamber after the latter insinuated that they box.
Pichay said he was to file an ethics complaint against Barbers for the latter’s “un-parliamentary” behavior.
“Congress is a chamber representing the people of the Philippines. For you to be saying words like 'stupid' and 'nonsense', that is unparliamentarily because the Congress is a deliberative body,” Pichay insisted.