Famous personalities in the field of politics, sports, and showbusiness were among those who attended the orientation of neophyte lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Thursday.
However, despite the glitz and glamour that they brought, new legislators — such as former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, international boxing champ Manny Pacquiao — seemed all too humble, observed House secretary general Marilyn Barua-Yap.
"The so-called 'big names' at the seminar were very down-to-earth. They didn't [throw] their weight around," Yap told GMANews.TV after the seminar.
Yap said that Pampanga Rep. Arroyo, like other lawmakers inside the plenary hall, just sat quietly on her chair and listened intently to the speakers.
The 114 lawmakers who attended the seminar were lectured on legislative skills, bill drafting, parliamentary law, rules of the House, and the budget process.
Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales, Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla, and La Union Rep. Victor Francisco Ortega gave an "experiential sharing" during the orientation.
Ortega shared insights as chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments.
Remulla gave pointers on the "dynamic use of parliamentary processes," while Gonzales taught the new lawmakers "how to make the most out of their stay as congressmen," Yap said.
The orientation started a little past 8 a.m. and ended around noon.
Clad in a red sleeveless dress, Arroyo came in towards the latter part of the seminar, around 11 a.m.
But Yap didn't have any problems with Arroyo's late arrival, saying the event was not mandatory anyway.
Besides, Arroyo — like Marcos, who won as Ilocos Norte congressman — is one of the last people who needs briefing on legislative matters, added Yap.
Arroyo served in the government's legislative branch as a senator before becoming vice president in 1998, while Marcos was Leyte's congressman (First District) from 1995 to 1998.
Yap called the Arroyo and Marcos as "veterans" in legislative work.
The House secretary general also said that Marcos, who wore a purple dress, "was gracious as usual."
As for Sarangani Rep. Pacquiao, who is a world-class boxer but comparatively new in politics, Yap said she knew the champion pugilist would have no problem getting a grip on House concerns since he has recently been attending at least two other seminars on House legislation.
"I think he is already pretty much prepared and equipped," Yap said. "The challenge now, however, is how to lift the theoretical to actual [legislation]."
Other personalities who showed up for the orientation were Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez (fourth district), a television host and wife of actor Richard Gomez, and Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, erstwhile actress and wife of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.
Other new legislators spotted at the event were party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, and former Arroyo administration officials Anthony Golez Jr. of Bacolod and Arthur Yap of Bohol.
After the orientation, a "seemingly satisfied" Arroyo even thanked Yap and her team for a smooth and orderly conduct of the event, the secretary general said.
The seminar was followed by a lunch that served as an opportunity for the new House legislators to mingle with the old ones, who dropped by the Batasan Pambansa for a House photo-shoot for its gallery.
The orientation was conducted barely three weeks before the 15th Congress opens and before President Aquino delivers his first-ever State of the Nation Address. - RJAB Jr./JV, GMANews.TV
Reposted From GMA News.TV