HOUSE Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas on Monday appealed to traffic enforcers to go easy on lawmakers committing traffic violations by exempting them from arrest.
He made his appeal during the hearing by the House committee on transportation, led by Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento. He was with the members of the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic or I-ACT that briefed the lawmakers on their plans, programs and projects in preparation for the holiday season.
I-ACT is composed of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, Department of Transportation and Communications, Metro Manila Development Authority, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Land Transportation Office and the Metro Manila Council composed of the 17 Metro Manila mayors.
The MMDA on Monday said the members of the Metro Manila Council will decide whether they will give “parliamentary immunity” to lawmakers who will be caught violating traffic rules.
Assistant General Manager for Planning Jose Arturo Garcia made the statement in reaction to Fariñas’ appeal.
The MMC is the governing board and the policy-making body of the MMDA.
Fariñas said lawmakers were covered by “parliamentary immunity” as provided by Section 11, Article VI of the Constitution.
“It is called Parliamentary Immunity that is universally accepted,” Fariñas told reporters in a Viber message.
But some legal experts expressed belief that the constitutional provision was applicable inside Congress.
Fariñas appealed to transport officials and the officials and the members of the Inter-Agency Committee on Traffic to exempt lawmakers from traffic-related offenses attending sessions at the Batasang Pambansa Complex.
He said as provided by the rules, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez may surrender to authorities the House members who had violated traffic rules once the session was finished.