The “no-work, no-pay” measure being proposed in the House of Representatives is not applicable to members of Congress because attending plenary session is not the only job of lawmakers, Sen. Richard Gordon said on Friday.
Gordon, in the interview, added that he considers a baloney the proposal aimed at forcing lawmakers to be present during plenary session and it is not a solution to absenteeism among lawmakers.
Navotas City (Metro Manila) Rep. Tobias Tiangco who filed House Bill (HB) 412 seeking to impose a “no-work, no-pay” policy on all members of the House and the Senate.
Under the proposal, a lawmaker’s 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, which will be subtracted from the monthly salary to determine the net monthly salary.
“That’s baloney. It’s not applicable to lawmakers because we also have work in committees,” Gordon said.
According to the senator, lawmakers sometimes cannot attend sessions because there are other things they need to attend to that are also related to their duty as legislators.
Gordon said he sees no reason why Congress needs to come up with such proposal when there are existing ways in dealing with lawmakers who are always absent or those who are not performing their legislative duties.
The Senate and the House of Representatives, he added, both have their respective ethics committees that handle matters “directly and principally relating to the duties, conduct, rights, privileges and immunities, dignity, integrity and reputation of the chambers and their members.”
“Let the issue be raised before the ethics committee and have its members discussed on what to do. That will show the maturity of Congress,” Gordon said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson also expressed his objection to the proposal, saying that it is “demeaning” to the lawmakers.
Lacson said the proposed legislation is good copy for the media but members of the legislature doubt if the bill will be passed.
Senators and congressmen, he noted, are not daily wage earners to be subjected to no-work, no-pay scheme and he is ready to oppose the proposal if only to maintain the dignity and honor of the legislature and its members.
“We are responsible officials and we answer to our constituents when we misbehave or commit misdemeanor like not attending sessions whimsically or without justifiable reason,” Lacson said.