‘No work, no pay’ proposal in Congress ‘childish,’ says lawyer
The “no work, no pay” proposed measure to discourage absenteeism in Congress is childish and clear demonstration of lack of proper leadership, a lawyer said Thursday.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said instead of the ‘no work no pay policy’, a law should be passed to implement a strict observance of the quorum requirement or the actual attendance in session of the required number of members of Congress to approve a bill.
The ‘no work – no pay’ policy is…a very childish attitude on the part of our lawmakers and a clear demonstration of lack of proper leadership in Congress since it cannot even compel attendance of its members which is one of their primary duties and responsibilities since they were elected by the people to be their representatives in Congress,” Macalintal said in a statement.
“How could they represent their constituents if they could not even attend their sessions,” he asked.
Congressmen meet in sessions only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays “yet some of them could still shortchange our taxpayers by not attending sessions and practically showing no concern at all whether a bill is passed with or without quorum,” Macalintal said.
He said it is also high time to criminalize an act of members of Congress passing a bill without quorum.
“At present, even if only one (1) member of the Senate or House of Representative is present, the bill could be approved as long as no member questions the existence of a quorum,” Macalintal said. He said it has been a tolerated practice in Congress to pass a bill without a quorum.
Macalintal added that the constitution should likewise be amended or a law be passed making it an impeachable offense as culpable violation of the constitution and/or betrayal of public trust for a President to sign into law a bill knowing fully well that it was passed by Congress without the required quorum.
“This is the only way that would compel attendance in Congress by our legislators and for them to be more serious in their duties of performing and enacting proper and legal legislative matters,” he said. He added that he hopes that one legislator would always question the quorum during sessions.
Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco filed the House Bill 412 imposing a pay cut on lawmakers who will not attend the regular or special sessions of Congress.
During the 16th Congress Sarangani Representative, now Senator Manny Pacquiao was present only for four sessions while Negros Occidental Representative Jules Ledesma was present only for seven days. IDL
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.