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Bisikleta ang kailangan; Senate exercise in futility

May 21, 2020 - Thursday 4:05 AM by Jimmy Laking

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Ariel Ureta was right all along. Bisikleta ang kailangan.

Ureta of course is the respected comedian-actor-TV-radio personality who, one day in 1972, surprised his listeners with this one-liner: “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, bisikleta ang kailangan.”

When Ureta said that, martial law was barely a few months old. So however you look at it, either he was making a spoof or fun of the New Society mantra “Sa Ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan” that was aired every 10 minutes on radio. He denied decades later that he was punished by the Marcos dictatorship.

With the situation nationwide shifting to the new normal, it seems the bicycle is now making a statement as a mode of transportation.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the cities, Metro Manila particularly, where establishments are re-opening and people are now going back to work.

With the bulk of mass transportation still not back in circulation, many individuals are seen reporting to work on bicycles. I believe many are getting the hang of it and are actually enjoying it.

With the bike, one can negotiate Cubao to Pasay in less than an hour at a leisurely pace along EDSA or by taking the side routes without being bothered by the traffic and without violating social distancing.

And since it is guaranteed to bring you to work, it is also guaranteed to bring you home.

Cities in Europe actually have long since adopted the bicycle as a mode of transportation and they are reaping the benefits with cleaner air and healthy people. Who says the period of COVID-19 pandemic is not actually interesting if you know how to make the best out of it?
Meanwhile, the Senate hearing on the probable granting of a provisional franchise for ABS-CBN is turning out to be an exercise in futility.

This looked like a last-ditch attempt by several senators to ramp up an ongoing bid to grant a provisional franchise to ABS-CBN by way of a joint action by both houses of Congress.

Which did not sit well with former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who was invited as a resource speaker. Enrile did not mince words in pointing out the obvious: it is only Congress that can grant a franchise by legislation and it was the lack of legislation that closed ABS-CBN after its franchise ended on May 4, 2020.

He also asked: “What is the compelling reason Congress cannot grant a permanent franchise to the media entity?”

Enrile was also convinced that a provisional franchise is doubtful because it has no degree of permanence.

Finally, by way of advice and in the manner of a maestro lecturing a bunch of students, Enrile suggested that the Senate accord the Supreme Court respect by waiting for its resolution on the ABS-CBN case before proceeding any further.

In contrast, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno was de-kahon. Proceeding like he was crafting a promulgation, Puno began with what he called a prefatory statement and proceeded to justify his stand that he was agreeing with a previous speaker on the need for a provisional franchise. But he said practically nothing new.

And if I heard right, one senator (identified with cinema) who was interviewed on TV had this to say: “We shall vote on the measure, prima facie, eventually.”

Did he mean viva voce which meant voting orally? If I remember right, prima facie means “sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption” as in prima facie evidence.

Your honor, please.