ALLIES of President Rodrigo Duterte, including those in Congress, should not seek special treatment over anything, including traffic laws, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Tuesday.
Abella sounded off the call in response to a request by Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte at the House of Representatives that authorities should not apprehend lawmakers over minor traffic violations.
Fariñas was quoted as saying: “Pag nagpakilalang congressman siya at maipakitang talagang congressman, huwag ‘niyong dalhin sa presinto. Kasi ‘pag dinala sa presinto, hindi na siya makakapag-perform ng kanyang functions. Halimbawa, eh nakasagasa. Nasugatan ‘yung tao. ‘Pag nagpakilalang congressman yan, eh ‘di ‘tsaka na huhulihin.”
(When a lawmaker introduces himself as a member of the House, don’t take the lawmaker to the precinct because he or she can’t perform legislative functions anymore. For example, the lawmaker’s vehicle ran over somebody and the victim was wounded. If the lawmaker presents himself/herself as a House member, you can arrest him or her later).
“The President continues to live a modest lifestyle. He does not seek special treatment inside or outside the Palace. I hope our colleagues in Congress, especially our allies, could bring themselves to do the same,” Abella told reporters.
“The law is the law,” Abella added.
The Revised Penal Code states that reckless imprudence consists in voluntarily, but without malice, doing or failing to do an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.
The country’s penal code also provides that “any person who, by reckless imprudence, will commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony” will be imprisoned from six months to three years.
Fariñas has invoked Article 4, Section 11 of the Philippine Constitution, which states that “a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives should, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session.”
Likewise, the 1987 Charter says that “no member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in Congress or in any committee thereof.” LLANESCA T. PANTI