Give lawmakers more leeway for minor traffic violations: Fariñas

MANILA — House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas on Monday asked the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to excuse congressmen from minor traffic violations especially when Congress is in session.

During a hearing of the House transportation committee, Fariñas said lawmakers should be given more leeway for minor traffic violations to help them carry out their duties as representatives.

’Pag nagpakilalang congressman, huwag ninyong dalhin sa presinto. Kasi kapag dinala sa presinto, hindi na siya makakapag-perform ng kaniyang functions,” Fariñas said. (If he presents himself as a congressman, don’t bring him to prison. If you bring him there, he will not be able to perform his functions (as representative).

Fariñas said legislators may invoke parliamentary immunity during session hours.

Under Section 11, Article VI of the Constitution, “a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session.”

“No Member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof,” it added.

In a message thread with House reporters, Fariñas clarified that members of Congress are not immune or privileged from suits or cases, but shall “be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session.”