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Fariñas seeks House members’ immunity from minor traffic offenses


Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas on Monday asked traffic enforcing government units to excuse lawmakers from arrest for minor traffic-related offenses, citing the importance of their participation in legislative processes.

During a hearing by the House transportation committee, Fariñas pointed out that lawmakers are covered by parliamentary immunity, which states that no member of Congress may be held liable for any offense punishable by not more than six years in prison while in session.

"Bakit? Kasi kami ay representatives ng Filipino people. Nai-impeach si Presidente, magbobotahan kami sa committee whether he will be impeached or not," he said.

"E bibitinin nila ako, titiketan mo, hindi ako makakaboto o hindi kami makakaboto," he added.

Fariñas asked officials of the Department of Transportation and the Inter-Agency Committee on Traffic present in the hearing to tell their personnel not to apprehend House members heading to the Batasang Pambansa Complex to attend session.

"Strikto po ako ngayon, kapag 4 p.m., kandado 'yung pinto, magro-roll call po kami. E sa traffic po ngayon, lalong kinakailangan ang probisyon na ito," he said.

"Kaya nga po maski maka-omit ng offense, tsaka na hulihin," he added.

Fariñas said following their rules, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez may surrender to authorities the erring congressman once the session is finished.

"Kapag napakita na talagang congressman siya, 'wag niyong dalhin sa presinto. Kasi kapag dinala niyo sa presinto, hindi na siya makakapag-perform. Ito ay nasa Saligang Batas 'yan," he said.

"Kung murder talagang mabigat yun, imbestigahan na. Pero kung mga minor offenses, lalo na sa traffic, kung nagpakilala naman at kami'y nakikiusap sa inyo, escortan niyo na. Kung sasabihin niya na importante yung hinahabol niya sa Kongreso, makikita niyo naman yun, asikasuhin niyo na para matutugunan namin ang aming trabaho," Fariñas added.

Traffic enforcing units on Monday briefed the House transportation panel on their projects and programs, as well as on their future plans to improve the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila. —KBK, GMA News