What have our congressmen done so far?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 29, 2016 - 12:00am

It's only just and fair that the men and women whom Cebuanos elected to send to Congress must be accountable to the people. The year is about to end, and all local executives – the governor, the city and municipal mayors, and even barangay chairmen – should render a yearend report on the actual results of operations of their respective local government units. They should also report on their significant accomplishments, the problems they had to grapple with, and the things done, undone, or still unfinished for the year that is about to end. In this connection, all members of Congress (at least from the seven Cebu congressional districts, the two Cebu City districts, and those from Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue and other towns respectively) should also render their respective reports.

It is the fundamental right of each voter and taxpayer in each of the congressional districts to know what their representatives have done so far, from June to December. The people, especially the salaried middle class, are overtaxed. They are taxed on their incomes, and a good portion of their salaries are withheld to fund the operations of the government, which includes financing their congressman's travels to and from Manila, salaries for their staff, including those who report on the fifteenth and thirtieth of the month, and the luxurious cars and perks of their representatives. They are taxed whenever they buy from the malls. They are taxed when they buy services and goods. The taxpayers are thus the ones funding the congressmen's expensive lifestyles.

It is only fair that the honorable men and women representing the people should render a report on their performance. First, on legislation, the bills he or she sponsored, authored or co-authored, defended in committee and public hearings and in plenary sessions. Second, on projects and public works sponsored by the representative for his or her district. Third, the representatives' performance on national issues and affairs. And fourth, on outstanding advocacy that creates a favorable impact on the whole nation and the people. These four areas of concentration should be reported on by each member of Congress, and if they happen to read this column, they are expected to respond positively, in the spirit of public service.

On legislation, the Cebuano solons should show perfect attendance in all plenary sessions and in committee hearings and in investigations in aid of legislation. They should actively participate in parliamentary debates, deliver privilege speeches, submit position papers, and really show concrete results from all their efforts in Congress. I happen to have a complete record of the solons' attendance certified by the House secretariat, and I shall publish the same in due time just to confirm if the reports that what they submit are confirmed by the official records. I think that the Cebuanos are entitled to know. I also have a matrix of bills and resolutions sponsored by Cebu solons. They shall be published also.

On projects, and public works, I wish that the representatives shall release their own account of them. On their respective performance on matters of national impact and implications, I am waiting for a summary to be furnished to me in due time, including transcripts of proceedings in official sessions and committee meetings. I have yet to hear of any Cebuano solon who has stood up to pursue an advocacy with national, regional or global implications. I miss the times of many brilliant Cebuano parliamentarians of old who made sterling records in the halls of Congress. I can only recall in not-too-distant past, such men like Pabling Garcia, Jun Davide of the old Batasan, and our great Eddiegul, as among our better solons. With due respect to our current representatives, I would rather decline to comment on their performance. It is better that they submit a report on what they have done so far, and let the people judge them.


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