Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the powerful Senate Blue Ribbon committee, today called on the Senate to stand up and stomp those attempt to violate the law through its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

gordon - Gordon deplores IRRs that deviate from intent, spirit of laws enacted by Congress
Senator Richard Gordon
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Gordon voiced his indignation over the failure to implement laws or the capricious, arbitrary implementation of laws that are painstakingly crafted in Congress by its two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Gordon lamented that the whole process of crafting bills and getting these passed on third and final reading takes a lot of time and hard work.   Yet when these are finally enacted into law, majority of these are not properly implemented, or their IRRs deviate from the spirit of the law.

“We work really, really hard. We consume so many hours and even days to craft bills and debate them. And when they’re approved and go to the Executive branch, they do not implement them, majority of them are not implemented,’’ he said.

‘’And it’s as if we’ve won a Pyrrhic victory all the time when nothing is implemented. We make laws and the men who implement them stick their tongues out, laugh at us and simply do whatever they please and they get away with it,” he said in a privilege speech interpellation during a Senate regular session.

Gordon cited as example Republic Act 9369, or the Amended Automated Elections System Law, which he authored.

He filed charges against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) before the Supreme Court twice for the poll body’s failure to properly implement the provisions of the law requiring safeguards such as digital signatures, source-code review, random manual audit, and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) among others. 

In 2016, following a vote of 15 – 0, the Supreme Court ordered the Comelec to implement the VVPAT provision, which would allow the voter to verify if the choices on the paper record (or receipt spewed out by the VCM) match the choices that he or she actually made on the ballot.

Through the VVPAT, the voter can confirm whether the machine had actually read the ballot correctly.

Another example cited by Gordon was RA 11235, or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, which was enacted into law on March 8, 2019.

Despite the non-extendible period provided by the law for the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to promulgate an IRR, it was only last May that the agency finally issued an IRR.

Gordon stressed that it is time that the Senate goes after agencies that mangle the law thru the IRRs they issue and file charges against them for causing injury and damage to the people.

“We cannot just stand idly by and keel over and die and let them, by way of impunity, try to ignore our bills and our laws that have been crafted here with so much pain, so much work. These people are engaged in capricious, arbitrary and gross violation of the law. It’s about time to say, no more! We cannot allow them to get away with it,” he stressed.

“I think it’s important that we show that we are going to stand up and stomp anybody who tries to violate the law. We ought to investigate every one of these agencies and have the Senate Council file cases against these people,’’ he said.

‘’Isn’t it about time that we get together in a caucus and get all these documents together and during the budget deliberations, it can now be brought out to them? And when they cannot explain it, they can learn that we can tell them ‘no budget for you’ because if you cannot implement the laws, how can you implement all the appropriations that are going to be given to you? We should be very serious in letting them know that if they violate, they get it. They get their next cut-off,” Gordon added.

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