Arroyo against House inquiries unless they actually lead to laws
MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said she does not like it when lawmakers file resolutions calling for investigations in aid of legislation, arguing that "only harassment" occurs during these probes.
The former president turned Pampanga 2nd District congresswoman said this during the lunch she hosted with House reporters on Monday, November 26. (READ: Arroyo: No punishment for lawmakers who reject Duterte priority bills)
"I don't like resolutions in aid of legislation because there is no legislation that happens, only harassment that happens," said Arroyo.
Arroyo was explaining why she wants the House to focus on its oversight function – where lawmakers assess how the executive branch implements laws – during the last weeks of the 17th Congress.
The Speaker said Ilocos Sur 1st District Representative Deogracias Victor "DV" Savellano had approached her to propose holding an inquiry in aid of legislation for a certain issue, which Arroyo could not recall during the lunch.
Arroyo told reporters that she did not agree with Savellano's proposal, saying it might be better if he would just call it an oversight proceeding.
The Speaker added she would only support such a proposal if a lawmaker has carefully outlined what piece of legislation he or she wants to amend by holding such a probe.
"He mentioned something and I said, 'DV, you know inquiries in aid of legislation, I don't like them to be done unless you give me a rough draft of the legislation you are thinking of. Otherwise let's call it oversight.' Call it what it is because after all it is a function of Congress," said Arroyo.
"Then let's have a briefing, not an inquiry where you are going to be so inquisitorial. So he said he will change his resolution," she added.
Arroyo said there is only "one policeman" in the House – the committee on good government and public accountability.
"There's one policeman, I told the congressman, one policeman in the House and that's the committee on good government. Let them do what they want to do. They're the only ones authorized to make inquiries," said the Speaker.
House committees have held several probes into various issues during the 17th Congress. Among the most controversial ones include the justice panel's probe into the proliferation of drugs at the New Bilibid Prison when embattled Senator Leila de Lima was still justice secretary. Lawmakers had feasted on her love affair with her driver Ronnie Dayan during the probe.
De Lima has since been arrested because of multiple drug charges.
Legislators are also known to resort to grandstanding during these investigations, in a bid to milk airtime on television and news websites that carry live streams of hearings. – Rappler.com