Solons who snubbed PNoy defended
• August 4, 2014
• Written by Jester P. Manalastas
• Published in Top Stories
FOR some House leaders, there is no need to discipline or file an ethics complaint against militant lawmakers who walked out on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino last July 28.
House independent minority leader Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the Makabayan bloc was only exercising their freedom of speech and should not be sanctioned for their action.
“They should be cautious to sanction them because that is freedom of expression also and they never disrupted,” Romualdez, a lawyer and president of Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. agreed with Romualdez, and rejected any move to discipline the progressive party-list lawmakers.
The militant solons — Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlo Zarate; Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hiccap, Gabriela Reps. Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus, Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon and ACT-Teacher Rep. Antonio Tinio — walked out of the plenary session while President Aquino was delivering his 5th SONA.
The solons said they only showed their disappointment in the administration of Aquino who they claimed failed to curb corruption in the government when he allowed the distribution of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.
Both Belmonte and Romualdez believe that there is no need to investigate the action of the Makabayan bloc.
”I will discourage the filing of an ethics complaint. Nobody even noticed it or cared,” Belmonte said.
Romualdez warned that sanctioning the members of Makabayan bloc may create unnecessary conflict at the House of Representatives.
It was Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo who proposed the filing of an ethics complaint against the seven militant solons.
On the other hand, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe expressed support for Castelo’s proposal, saying that it is just proper to look into the matter to determine if there is a need to penalize them.
”We must investigate such walkout not to penalize the Makabayan bloc for their publicity antics but to come up with rules that will deal with such kind of actions in the future. I personally believe that we include in our rules that attendance in SONA is an obligation among us members and any act that might disrupt, disturb or disrespect the proceedings including a walkout by members of Congress should be penalized,” Batocabe said.