Latest Stories

No work, no pay for solons pushed


It could be a new twist to the no work, no pay policy.

With absenteeism a perennial problem in Congress, lawmakers who fail to meet the most basic requirement of showing up for work must be fined for their absences, some senatorial aspirants believe.

What is more important, they say, is for voters to choose candidates who will uphold their sworn duties and not allow such problems to happen in the first place.

Senatorial candidate Paolo Benigno Aquino IV of the administration coalition Team PNoy said being a member of the Senate was a serious responsibility and its members were expected, at the minimum, to attend its hearings and sessions.

Failure to do so must entail penalties, such as fines that become higher as the absences worsen, he said during the “Paninindigan” senatorial forum of GMA News, the Inquirer’s election partner. The first portion of the forum was to air last night.

Making people aware

“I am in favor of penalizing those who don’t attend [sessions]. Maybe they should be fined,” Aquino said when asked about the issue of frequent absences.

Aquino added that the issue boiled down to leadership and governance and that voters must choose people who were ready to work and were dedicated to their jobs.

Another senatorial candidate, Teddy Casiño, told the Inquirer that the imposition of fines could work not because the fines would hurt the senators in their pockets (many of them are moneyed anyway) but because it would bring the people’s attention to the problem of absenteeism.

A representative of Bayan Muna party-list group, Casiño is running for senator as an independent.

Gordon: Shame them

Casiño and Aquino said it was important to make public the attendance records of the lawmakers, along with how they spent their priority development assistance funds and  operating expenses, so that the people would know what they were doing with those funds and hold them accountable.

“Lawmakers would be more conscious of their duties because the public would be interested in the issue, on who paid large fines,”  Casiño said. “The public attention it will generate will make it effective.”

For senatorial candidate Richard Gordon of the United Nationalist Alliance, there are enough rules to hold absentee lawmakers to account and it would be better to perhaps “shame” them for their delinquency.

Gordon stressed that voters should not elect candidates that would not give their all to their sworn duties.

Not popularity alone

“The whole problem is not in imposing fines because by that time, you have elected them,” Gordon said, adding that the real problem was the inability of people to distinguish between “show biz-politics type” candidates and candidates promoting “substance-based” politics.

“That’s the reason for all the absences,” he said. “People don’t get quality legislation because they elect poor-quality people based on popularity.”

Gordon said the electorate must learn to be discerning, especially amid the noise generated by “show biz” controversies that tend to overshadow the more serious issues facing the country, such as the power crisis hampering Mindanao’s development and the conflict in Sabah.

Problem of quorum

Lack of warm bodies has led to the adjournment of sessions in Congress. The result is that crucial legislation has been delayed or has died  from inaction.

Casiño said the House leadership had to resort at times to sending text messages to lawmakers so that there would be sufficient quorum to proceed with the session.

He said there had also been instances where the leadership would release allowances or special allotments to make sure the lawmakers would attend the sessions.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Congress , lawmakers

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace