Supermajorities are the trend


The apparent Senate president in the 19th Congress makes no bones about his wish fo form a “supermajority” in the chamber. The other contender to the post, Sen. Cynthia Villar, having expressed an absence of desire to complicate her life, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri appears well on the way to build a constant consensus

And it doesn’t seem like forming a supermajority will require a supereffort on Zubiri’s part. Already, it looks like it’s in place, with the rout of the opposition leaving only the reelectionist Sen. Risa Hontiveros standing and the come-latelies unlikely to make his tenure difficult.

Supermajorities are the trend, at any rate. In the 18th Congress, the House demonstrated the potency of the phenomenon with the crowd clambering aboard what eventually became the ruling party and generally hewing to what the great leader desired; in the Senate most of the then newbies and returnees indicated their allegiance with a snappy Duterte salute right at their proclamation. Now, with a rookie like Robin Padilla triggered by the astounding number of votes he received to believe in his imagined capabilities, and Joseph Estrada’s sons returning to their old haunt, and siblings and other filial connections making of the chamber a cozy arrangement, smooth sailing will likely be the norm.

In the initial wash of the wave of the future, the majority in the blue ribbon committee led by Zubiri left the chair, Sen. Richard Gordon, high and dry, his report on the Pharmally scandal largely ignored and unsigned. Seven months of hearings and provocative findings—for example, despite  its capitalization of P625,000 (a laughable amount in the world of big business), Pharmally Pharmaceutical Inc. cornered P11.11 billion worth of pandemic supply contracts from the Department of Health, and the exchange was purportedly marked by, if not substandard then “ghost” deliveries, etc.—went down the drain. 

Zubiri et al. would not go on record to say “Yes, but…” or “Hell, no!” or other expressions of  vehement disagreement with the report, purposely looking the other way and allowing it to head to the archives and molder there.

It’s an act of erasure, almost like expunging disturbing reports and commentary from cyberspace in a determined effort to airbrush a certain image.


Despondency is rife among those who hoped to hear a welcome vibrato in the faltering tenor of their lives. Surely there’s time to mourn loss, but despondency should weaken in the long run, in fact should be banished as an act of will, in order to buck the trend, to fight erasure, to bear witness.

Elie Wiesel would not succumb to despair despite the Holocaust. Although inextricably linked to its horrors, he would not let it silence him He struggled to live despite the brutal extinction of his parents and his sister in Auschwitz. He survived, along with his two other sisters, and he would not let the searing guilt at being alive when millions of others are dead break him.

In a conversation with the New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani back in 1981, Wiesel said: “Out of despair, one creates. What else can one do? There is no good reason to go on living but you must go on living. There is no good reason to bring a child into this world but you must have children to give the world a new innocence, a new reason to aspire toward innocence.”

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