MANILA - Incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is not keen on the bill seeking to curb absenteeism in the Lower House, dubbed as the "no work, no pay" bill.
If approved, the bill would make sure that lawmakers will not have salaries for the times they do not show up for work.
Sought for comment, Alvarez pointed out that absence from the sessions of Congress does not mean they are not working.
"Mahirap gawin yan sa Kongreso. Unang-una, yung congressmen are all elected by their constituents. Ngayon, pwede kasi di sila pumasok sa Kongreso pero nagtrabaho sa distrito nila kasi may offices. Being the representative of their constituents, kailangan magkaka-consultations doon," he explained.
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Alvarez also pointed out that very few lawmakers engage in chronic absenteeism.
He said congressmen's attendance in sessions is really left to their conscience.
Alvarez, however, said they may amend the internal rules of the House so they can impose a penalty on chronic absentees.
"We have to amend the internal rules na bigyan natin ng kung ano agreed penalty na pwede ipataw sa mga 'di nag-attend ng sessions. Offhand, wala pa ako maisip, pero definitely I want to consult the members," he said.
Absence from sessions has been used by lawmakers in the past to make sure there is no quorum and force an adjournment of session, thus delaying the passage of important measures.