A man of few words. So has Pampanga 1st District Rep. Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin been known for as long as anyone would care to remember. His legendary quietude becoming a stuff of jokes: the comite de silencio in Congress permanently titled to him.
Dakal a gawa.
A generosity in deeds. Cong Tarzan makes up for his lack of words in terms of accomplishments in infrastructure projects, in livelihood programs, health services and scholarship grants for his constituents.
Although no lawyer, Cong Tarzan subscribes to the dictum res ipsa loquitur — letting his actions do the talking. Further endearing himself to the electorate.
In the rare times that Cong Tarzan speaks, he talks sense and everybody should listen. It was Cong Tarzan that first said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would run for congresswoman. This shortly before presidential visits to her home district increased in frequency.
Two days back, interesting points were made by Cong Tarzan in his take on Charter change, GMA and the House.
“The move to change the Constitution is eyed by most pro-administration House members as a measure towards a parliamentary system of government with a prime minister not as powerful as the President.” So Cong Tarzan said, qualifying, in effect, that the initiative to change the Constitution is not interlinked with any scenario of a House Speaker Macapagal-Arroyo.
Even as it is conceded that GMA will win Pampanga’s 2nd congressional district seat hands down, Cong Tarzan, her close ally, sees the unlikely possibility of her being made Speaker; an impossibility even, if and when the next president comes from the opposition: “We in the House all know that the speakership is dictated by the President. Look at what happened to Speaker Jose de Venecia. When he fell out of grace from Malacanang, he was replaced as Speaker despite his being there for so many years.”
Cong Tarzan talks realpolitik here. The equality of the branches of government not worth the paper it is written on. The House Speaker serving at the pleasure of the President. As it was with Manny Villar, so it was with Joe de V: the former earning the wrath of President Erap for transmitting the impeachment resolution to the Senate, the latter for failing to shut the mouth of his son on the scandalous NBN-ZTE misdeal.
“To do away with too much power in the hands of the executive, such as control over the pork barrel,” Cong Tarzan said the shift to the parliamentary system would effect. Control over the pork barrel the surest way of corralling the congressmen, hence the dictatorial power to name the Speaker.
With castration of presidential powers as a major premise, and a constitutional convention instead of a constituent assembly as its means, Tarzan thinks: “This time, there are good chances that the Senate would support the move.”
He called for more patience among the people though: Should Charter change succeed, the parliamentary system of government cannot be put in place until at least the year 2013 as “there will be much to be done, so it will take time.”
Yeah, Cong Tarzan really talks sense. Which makes the pretenders to his post utterly senseless.