Majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas found allies in Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as they defended his statement on lawmakers’ immunity from minor traffic violations.
Atienza has clarified Fariñas’ statement about lawmakers being exempted from apprehension when caught in a minor traffic violations. He clarified that it was not a request for a special privilege but he was simply citing an existing provision in the 1987 Constitution.
He was referring to Article VI, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution which states “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.”
Atienza was quoted by GMA saying, “”I am not for or against congressman, or for that matter, any privilege. We should not be given any privilege, but we must also follow the law.”
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also seconded the motion and defended Fariñas after he received flak. He was also quoted by GMA expressing, “Pero ang sa akin naman para bang napakaliit naman nung bagay na ‘yun, na sinabi lang naman ni Rep. Fariñas kung ano yung nakatitik doon sa constitution. Hindi naman niya sinabi na pati ‘yung driver may immunity.” [It was just a very small thing when Rep. Fariñas simply stated what was in the constitution. He didn’t say that even the driver should be immune from arrest.]
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas received criticisms after he stated that lawmakers should be temporarily immune from traffic violations so that it will not delay them from their work, as per an article by Kicker Daily News.