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Time to impose rules of decorum! Binay seeks censure of solons insulting resource persons in inquiries

Paging Senate and House of Representatives.

Former Vice President Jejomar Binay has called on Congress to revisit the rules governing legislative inquries, saying the legislature must not be used as a tool for persecution and demolition.

“Rules on decorum must be imposed. Lawmakers should be censured if they insult or make disparaging remarks against individuals attending the hearings,” he said in his latest Manila Bulletin column shared on Facebook.

“The rights of those invited – not as accused persons but as resource persons – must be protected,” he said, adding it was not within the power of Congress to determine criminal liability.

He also suggested that lawmakers who initiate inquiries must be given a fixed number of days to file their
proposed legislation to justify such hearing.

“It is the function of legislative bodies, says the eminent British parliamentarian Walter Bagehot, to legislate, educate, and inform. Congress should not be a venue for destroying lives and reputations. There must always be respect for the rights and the dignity of individuals,” he said.

Binay made the proposal after his family’s bad experience with congressional inquiries. He said his son Junjun was “humiliated in public, ordered detained by some senators for asserting his rights, and bodily dragged from the detention area to the hearing room.”

The former vice president said he was declared guilty even before the hearings began, which he said was a violation of the constitutional presumption of innocence accorded to all citizens.

“And now, three years after their so-called inquiry ended, can any of these senators identify a piece of legislation filed?” he asked.

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