Brash and fiery exchange of senators, a crime in RP

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… ` Is there any man in whom the Spirit of God dwells?’…” (Genesis 41:38, the Holy Bible).


BRASH AND FIERY EXCHANGE OF SENATORS, A CRIME IN RP: With much apologies to Sen. Richard Gordon and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, I wish to share a reminder of a grave point pertaining to their being elected officials of the country: do Mr. Gordon and Mr. Trillanes know that their brash and fiery exchange in the halls of Senate on Thursday, August 31, 2017, constitute a violation of the law?

Perhaps, these two lawmakers are thinking that they have a right to engage in a heated verbal tussle in front of TV cameras and radio microphones yet, while they were investigating the smuggling out of the Bureau of Customs, then under Commissioner Nick Faeldon, of some P6.4 billion worth of shabu.

According to Section 4 (b) and ( c ) of Republic Act 6713 (otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Government Officials and Employees), Gordon and Trillanes have an obligation to display professionalism in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities as lawmakers, including respect for others. They are also barred from any conduct that would be contrary to good manners and right conduct.


RUDE BEHAVIOR OF SENATORS CAN BE PENALIZED: If there is anyone willing to test the responsibility or liability of Gordon and Trillanes with respect to their behavior last Thursday, it must be understood that based on Section 11 of RA 6713, there are grave penalties that await any brazen act of disrespect and in derogation of good manners and right conduct coming from any government official or employee.

According to Section 11, any official or employee of government, whether elected or simply appointed, can be punished with suspension from work for a period not exceeding one year, or of dismissal from the service if their display of rudeness is really grave and abominable to ordinary rules of fairness. What is more, the erring officials and employees can also be required to pay a fine equivalent to six months of their salary. Then, if there is any law that imposes harsher penalties, these harsher penalties are the ones to be imposed against the erring officer and employee.


CIVILITY IS LOST AMONG SENATORS: The only question that now lingers in the mind of many who witnessed or who heard the acerbic exchange of words between Gordon and Trillanes is this: why do we have this caliber of lawmakers at the Upper House nowadays? It appears that being civil or civilized in dealing with others, especially with their fellow lawmakers, is already lost on them.

Clearly, according to those I already managed to talk to, they no longer see from the senators the behavior of men in whom the Spirit of God dwells—because, they told me, if the two lawmakers have the Spirit of God in them, they wouldn’t be acting as if they were street fighters engaged in boasting against one another.

Too, it is clear in the mind of many citizens that the two senators were bent on pushing their respective interests in their work in the Senate. Based on many commentaries in social media, they see Gordon as the defender of people who are being implicated in the Customs shabu scandal, while Trillanes is perceived as the prosecutor of anyone who has links with the administration. Citizens are saying what the two did in public was truly shameless.


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