'Time to abolish unproductive Congress!' - lawyer

Posted at 01/15/14 4:15 PM

MANILA - For just one minor legislation passed by Congress, taxpayers spent a whopping P35.2 billion, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said.

“The very dismal performance of our legislators in 2013 with only one insignificant law enacted for that year with a whopping P35.2 Billion budget, is enough justification to call for a charter change to abolish Congress and let the provincial governors and mayors of highly urbanized cities to form the legislative assembly,” he said.

He said the minor legislation was in the form of a one-page document: Republic Act 10632 or the suspension of the 2013 Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

“Despite Congress’ high-profile investigations it conducted in previous years ‘in aid of legislation’, no significant or relevant laws have been enacted as a result of such legislative inquiries,” he said.

Congress passed the 2014 budget in December, but it could not be considered an accomplishment, he said, since it is Congress’ obligation.

Even then, the constitution provides that if Congress fails to pass the budget law for a particular year, the budget for the preceding year is “deemed reenacted and shall remain in force and effect,” he said.

“With such a cheerless and disheartening accomplishments of our legislators where we spent billions and billions of pesos for their salaries and allowances, some of which could not even be audited as the same are justified by mere ‘certification of expenditure’ without any receipt, time is of the essence that we now give serious consideration in amending our constitution with the abolition of Congress as its first priority,” he said.

He added charter change is also a shortcut to totally abolishing the pork barrel, instead of waiting for the tedious process at the Supreme Court.

He said even the decisions of the high court are ignored by lawmakers.

“The gigantic savings that would be generated when Congress is abolished could be properly channeled to augment the much needed rehabilitation of the areas in the Visayan region badly hit by typhoon Yolanda and other worthy projects of the government,” he said.