A few weeks ago, I have written about what happened during the Bicameral Committee for the versions of the Cybercrime Protection Act. According to Representatives Tinio and Palatino, the questionable provisions of the CyberCrime Law were not present, at least, on the House Version of the bill. They implied that the questioned provisions were introduced by the Bicameral Conference Committee.
We have reasons, therefore, to say that there is a grave abuse of discretion when the BiCam Committee inserted these questionable clauses. The main function of this particular committee is to reconcile the versions of the bills and not to add provisions, which in this particular case where removed because of great oppositions from some members of the legislation. By adding these provisions, the so-called ‘Third House’ disregarded the hours of legislation spent on this particular bill.
For the past few hours, I have been hearing and reading reports of legislators saying that they did not see the final copy of RA 10175 or the Cyber Protection Act of 2012 when it was transmitted to Malacanang by the Bicameral Conference Committee. These legislators may nor be guilty of curtailing freedom of speech, but they are committing a serious mistake by not even looking at the final version of the bill. With these public ‘handwashing’, they are practically saying that they are not doing their jobs.
According to an article posted on the Senate’s website, after reconciling the versions of the bill, the committee should send a report to the floor for approval. At this stage, legislators, or at least anyone from the staffs, should take a look at the report and see if it agrees to the general consensus of the house. Apparently, what happened in the case of the CyberCrimeLaw is that the legislators just approved what the Committee has reported– without even scrutinizing the report. Senator Bongbong Marcos admitted, and the other legislators are obviously guilty of this, that he should be accused of “lack of supervision”. Obviously, for a very important law as this, our legislators have been negligent enough to not monitor the development of the bill. What are we supposed to think that will happen on the next succeeding bills? I am pretty sure that something like this happened in the other bills that were approved.
It is sad that we are seeing these kinds of problems in the legislative process. However, it can be said that it is a good thing that we are seeing the flaws of the current system. Now is a high-time for people to actually ask the legislator to do their jobs properly. We cannot afford to make these kinds of mistake. Not only it costs the people money in order to make these laws, these laws have a greater impact on the lives of the sovereign people. Now that elections is coming, we must assess who are the candidates who actually deserves your representation. A more important question right now is: Are we still going to vote for these negligent legislators?