Senator Joker Arroyo was all over the radio this morning complaining about why the senators and congressmen had to be roused from their drea...

The Psychology of Expediency

Senator Joker Arroyo was all over the radio this morning complaining about why the senators and congressmen had to be roused from their dreamy vacations just for a three-day special session that would start this afternoon. In Senator Arroyo’s own words, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is none less than someone who is a “killjoy” and argued that the President should have been more patient and waited instead until the present recess of Congress is over in just a week and a half’s time.

I know for certain that Senator Arroyo is one guy who never shies away from public duty, even if his life was on the line just like in a time gone by where he had risked life and limb just to stall the despotic aspirations of former President Ferdinand Marcos. But now, he complains and perhaps, this rare time that he complains gives us the idea that the VAT bill can wait after all and need not be rushed.

It would be of wisdom if the Senators would not in any way rush the passing of the new VAT legislation for any miscalculation on it could make or unmake its expected success as a wealth-generating scheme and may backfire in the form of extraordinary inflations and therefore rougher times for our economy instead of easier ones. In fact, so many questions on the VAT bill are still far from being ironed out like whether the rate should be increased to 12% or to remain at 10%, whether the corporate tax should be increased to 35% in supplement to the VAT taxation and whether or not electricity and petroleum products should remain exempted as VAT-able economic activities and objects.

The last time I heard Senator Ralph Recto discussed the Senate version of the VAT bill, there were still a lot of uncertainties and doubts as to what form or version could work best. So many things left unstudied and unelaborated. Perhaps, MalacaƱang could just say: “Hey guys, pass this animal called VAT bill and we’ll just redo and repair it later on if we have created a monster instead.” Now that seems to be workable. Rushed the tax law now and just reconfigure the Frankenstein later on.

The proposed new VAT legislation, as I have studied its nitty-gritty sections, has such great telling or effect on our economy, like inflation and productivity factors, and acceptability to the public as well as to the efficiency of its collection and yet it is being rushed like a fool in love. Haste makes wastes in elementary grade we have learned.

What I see is that MalacaƱang is just applying the “psychology of expediency” on the Senators by pulling every arms there is and make happen this three-day special session to hell or high water. The VAT bill may or may not become a law during this three-day convening but at least, the lawmakers got the message clear so that when it finally convenes for regular session a week and a half from now, the VAT bill may then be zoomed in record time.

There is one thing that may stall any deliberation this afternoon. House Minority Floor Leader Representative Francis Escudero predicts that not enough congressmen would be awaken from their Lenten sabbatical and a quorum in the house would not materialize, thus negating any opening of session (on the theory that the Senate could not hold sessions when the Lower House do not open due to technicalities like lack of quorum.) and if the Senators proceed to work on the VAT bill, Representative Escudero threatens to whistle-blow to the Supreme Court.

In politics, due to a lot of psychological warfare applied and effected ad well as games played and blackmails hurled, psychologists could make a damn good living among them politicians.


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