Top 10 Most Memorable Moments in the Philippine Congress
With all the investigations, probes, hearings and exposes occurring in Congress, there have been many unforgettable occurrences that sparked public reactions. This article lists the top ten most memorable moments that occurred in the Philippine Congress.
A Congressional hearing investigated reports that Iraqi soldiers occupying Kuwait were raping Filipina domestic helpers during the Persian Gulf Crisis in 1990. Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul Manglapus was severely criticized for quoting Confucius’ “If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”
In 1993, Senator Ernesto Maceda demanded an investigation into the alleged flesh trade of Filipina models and entertainers in Brunei. This investigation fizzled when, instead of being hailed as a hero, Maceda caught a lot of flak from those very same models and entertainers who indignantly denied his expose.
In the 2007 investigation of the NBN-ZTE deal, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago walked out of the hearing in a huff. Her parting words: “I resent being made part of this petty squabble. Pinag-aawayan n’yo lang ang mga kickback n’yo!”
In 2000, Senator Teofisto Guingona delivered this privilege speech in the senate accusing President Estrada of pocketing millions of pesos from jueteng payoffs, sparking the impeachment trial that led to Estrada’s ouster in EDSA Dos and later Estrada’s conviction for plunder.
In 2006, House Minority Leader Francis Escudero delivered a privilege speech in Congress regarding an alleged wiretapped conversation between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano during the election period, sparking investigation into the “Hello Garci?” controversy and the filing of several impeachment complaints against the president.
In 2003, Senator Panfilo Lacson delivered a privilege speech alleging that Presidential spouse Jose Miguel Arroyo deposited stolen funds intended for his wife’s 1998 vice-presidential campaign into fictitious accounts bearing the name “Jose Pidal”.
In 2001, Senator Tessie Aquino-Oreta became the target of criticism for doing an impromptu dance, caught on national television, after the all-important vote not to open the second envelope during the Estrada impeachment trial. Oreta was one of the senators who had voted against the opening of the envelope.
In 2001, during the Estrada impeachment trial, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago had three members of the audience thrown out of the session hall for “eyeing her provocatively”.
On November 13, 2000, right after the opening prayer for that day’s Congressional session, without missing a beat, House Speaker Manuel Villar read an order for the House secretary-general "to immediately transmit to the Senate the impeachment complaint constituting the articles of impeachment" against President Joseph Estrada, making Estrada the first Philippine President to face an impeachment trial.