Bets back ‘bundy clock’ for solons

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Former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros. CDN FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday said she agreed with the suggestion that lawmakers be made beholden to the bundy clock like most workers to solve the problem of absenteeism among legislators.

Hontiveros, a former House party-list member, said the lawmakers clocking in “could be a great equalizer” that would put powerful lawmakers in the same situation as ordinary wage earners who must submit to salary deductions as a result of habitual tardiness and absenteeism.

Benigno Aquino IV, the youngest of the administration Team PNoy candidates, has proposed that Congress impose fines that would increase with every succeeding unexcused absence.

‘Time-in time-out’ system

“Our students have, in effect, a ’time-in time-out’ system. Our workers and employees also go through this system. So this policy even in our legislature could be a great equalizer,” Hontiveros told a news conference at Team PNoy headquarters in Makati City.

“Our workers… if they are absent or late, their pay gets affected. Why not let our legislators go through the same? They are also working people,” she said.

Hontiveros and Aquino were asked about the issue of absenteeism that has affected most legislative proceedings, particularly with regard to important bills. Absenteeism and the resulting lack of a quorum in the House of Representatives has been widely blamed for the continued nonpassage of the freedom of information bill.

“If students get kicked out of school after several absences or if workers who don’t report for work don’t get paid, why are our lawmakers held up to a different standard?” Aquino told the same news conference.

Aquino also expressed the hope that Sen. Franklin Drilon, the Team PNoy campaign manager who has been repeatedly introduced in campaign sorties as the next Senate President, would support the idea.

“I also hope that Senator Drilon, whom we expect would lead the Senate at some point, would adopt this policy of imposing fines on absentee congressmen and senators,” he said.

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