If language alone were an accurate gauge

… then it seems the President’s political adviser, Gabby Claudio, has thrown in the towel.

I was struck by the way Speaker Joe de Venecia, who answered reporters’ questions several times yesterday, including during a press briefing he held, studiously avoided using the pejorative "Con-Ass" to pertain to the mode of changing the Constitution through the convening of a constituent assembly.

At most, as in this Star banner story, the word was inserted as editorial shorthand.

"I think now the internal report (is) that we already have 202 (signatories) including some members of the Senate and opposition (to convene the con-ass)," the House leader said.

In stark contrast, Claudio, who has handled the President’s legislative liaison requirements  since she assumed office in 2001, casually used the unflattering label at least three times in one interview.

Claudio told the Inquirer that the caucus — “which President Arroyo agreed to host” –was called “to fine-tune and coordinate plans for Con-ass and to ascertain her stand and support [for it].”

Claudio also said the President’s statements at the caucus would clear up “whatever doubts or intrigues might be circulating on her support for Con-ass.”

Claudio said the document should be “a good and reasonable strategy to get maximum support for Con-ass” and be “most acceptable to the 195 signatories and senators and the electorate.”

The preferred term, of course, is the more dignified Consa. Or don’t use shorthand altogether, as JDV demonstrated yesterday. Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone provided another example of the right way for true believers to talk about an article of faith.

“We will stick to the question of whether Filipinos still want the current bicameral [Congress] or if they want a unicameral Congress. I think we will in fact surpass the number of signatures we gathered for the first petition, because this time the issue is very clear given the constant gridlock between the Senate, the House and Malacañang,” he said.

Look, Ma, no Con-ass.


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