A no-work, no-pay measure has been filed in the House of Representatives to force lawmakers to show up in plenary sessions.
Navotas City (Metro Manila) Rep. Tobias Tiangco filed House Bill 412 that penalizes absentee lawmakers by reducing their salary for every unjustifiable absence in the plenary sessions.
Tiangco on Wednesday cited a constitutional provision that states, “Public office is a public trust and that public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives.”
Also, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees provides that public officials “shall perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill; and that they should enter public service with utmost devotion and dedication to duty.”
Under Tiangco’s proposal, a lawmaker’s P90,000 monthly salary will be divided by the number of session days to determine his salary per session day.
This salary per session day will then be multiplied by the number of absences for the final amount of salary deduction.
The salary deduction will be subtracted from the P90,000 monthly salary, which will be the net monthly salary.
“The lawmakers’ presence is required to represent the people and give their constituents a vote in Congress but some members have failed to promptly, effectively and efficiently perform the mandate of their office by reason of their failure to regularly attend the sessions of Congress. Thus, the lack of a quorum hampers the prompt passage of bills,” Tiangco said in his bill’s explanatory note.
The last attendance record made available by the House was in 2014, which showed then Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Negros Occidental Rep. Jules Ledesma 4th with most absences with 63 each. This meant that they were only present in seven of the 70 session days in 2014.
“This [no-work, no-pay policy] is [proposed]in order to promote professionalism, dedication to duty and efficiency in the performance of duty. So far, there are no existing policies that will discourage, if not sanction, the frequent absences of the members of Congress. This is unfair, considering that ordinary citizens are subjected to no-work, no-pay policy,” Tiangco said.
The House of Representatives only holds committee hearings in the morning and afternoon and plenary sessions from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Mondays to Wednesdays since the rest of the week is supposedly for their legislative work.
“With this policy [of penalizing the absentees], the avowed goal of government to improve the standard of living of the Filipino and to achieve a sustainable development through effective legislation will be achieved,” Tiangco said.
The Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit and the Department of Budget and Management, in coordination with the Accounting department of Congress, will then issue rules and regulations as necessary to implement the no-work, no-pay policy.