Fariñas Wants Congress To Be Immune From Traffic Violations—And The Internet Isn’t Taking Him Lightly

On a normal day at the House of Representatives, it seems like our honorable representatives do not really pull their punches when it comes to surprising the public. Yesterday, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas called for parliamentary immunity from traffic violations as it might affect their attendance during Congress sessions.

During the House transportation committee hearing, he called on the Department of Transportation to grant lawmakers a form of exclusion from traffic violations. He cited part of the Constitution that states: “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.”

“Kasi kami ay representatives ng Filipino people,” Fariñas told the media. “Nai-impeach si Presidente. Magbobotahan kami sa committee whether he will be impeached or not. Eh bibitinin nila ako, titiketan mo. Hindi ako makakaboto o hindi kami makakaboto.”

[Translation: Because we are the representatives of the Filipino people. If the President is impeached, we will vote in a committee whether he will be impeached or not. But they (traffic enforcers) will hold me up, they will give me a ticket. I won’t be able to vote, we won’t be able to vote.]

Fariñas Wants Congress To Be Immune From Traffic Violations

The lawmaker added that it would be unnecessary for traffic authorities to bring members of the House of Representatives to prison for a traffic violation, citing that it would only impede them from attending sessions that start at 4pm from Mondays to Wednesdays.

Opinions among other members of the government regarding this matter vary.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority assistant general manager Jojo Garcia said that the agency “would back it up” should a request be submitted to their office and the mayors of Metro Manila give their green light.

Meanwhile, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman opposes Fariñas’ proposal, saying that “it adds more acerbic criticisms against Representatives” after it voted to reduce the budget of Commission of Human Rights to P1,000.

The Palace chimed in too, with Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella saying “the President himself continues to observe a modest lifestyle and he seeks no special treatment whether inside or outside the Palace. We hope our colleagues in Congress, especially our allies, can bring themselves to do the same.”

Unfortunately, the peoples opinions aren’t as gentle as Abella, with most of them seething with anger over Fariñas’ statement.

With the news breaking out, it seems like Twitter and Facebook just aren’t having it. People took to their keyboards and rained fire and brimstone on the congressman and his wish to get him and his ilk a free pass from traffic violations. We’ve collected some of the angriest and meanest tweets regarding this new issue.