UNA senatorial bets question proposed ‘no-work-no-pay’ policy for lawmakers

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Vice President Jejomar Binay speaks to the crowd of Makati resident during the proclamation rally of United Nationalist Alliance’s local candidates. Matikas Santos/INQUIRER.net photo

MANILA, Philippines—A senatorial candidate from the opposition party said Wednesday the concept of the proposed “no-work-no-pay” policy in the Congress “is a nice soundbyte” but has underlying issues in the aspect of implementation.

Speaking to reporters during the sidelines of the United Nationalist Alliance’s (UNA) proclamation party for its local bets in Makati City, senatorial candidate Gregorio Honasan questioned the possible technicalities that may arise from the concept, such as what the term “work” would mean in the application of the policy.

“Ano ang ibig sabihin ng work (What do you mean by work)? Attendance? Product? Output?” Honasan said.

“’Yung hindi ibibigay in terms of [Priority] Development Assistance [Fund], saan mapupunta? (What you won’t give in terms of PDAF, where will it go?)” Honasan said.

Earlier reports had it that President Aquino’s cousin and Liberal Party bet Paolo Benigno Aquino IV urged to adopt the policy in the 16th congress in a bid to curb absenteeism of some members of the legislative chamber.

He said lawmakers who would repeatedly fail to attend sessions should be slapped with fines, but said that he disagrees with the “no work, no pork” proposal.

Congressmen receive a yearly PDAF of P70 million each while senators get P200 million each per year.

“What will it take? A resolution? Do you think Congress will legislate against itself?” Honasan said.

For his part, another UNA bet, former Senator Dick Gordon, said such policy is not needed.

“Maglalagay ka nang no-work, no-pay tapos hindi iiral. Lalong humihina ang resolve ng tao (You will put a no-work, no-pay but it will not prosper. The person’s resolve will weaken),” Gordon said, adding that what needs to be given attention are other problems such as the power crisis in Mindanao

Former Senator Ernesto Maceda, on the other hand, said that not giving a congressman his salary for his/her excessive absences cannot be really considered as penalty since a congressman’s salary is relatively small.

“Kahit aalisin, hindi din mararamdaman . . . walang epekto (Even if it is removed, it can’t be felt),” he said, but added that he is OK with the policy since he doesn’t have problems with his attendance.

Lawmakers attend to committee hearings, plenary sessions, and investigations, while congressmen attend to district matters during weekends.

UNA held its proclamation rally in Makati City Tuesday evening for incumbent Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun Jun” Binay, and his running mate for vice mayoral post Marge De Veyra.

The event was also attended by his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, as well as his two other sisters, Nancy and Abigail, who are both seeking a seat in the Senate and Congress, respectively under UNA.

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