WITH no intention of spoiling the Christmas spirit, Cong. Robert Ace S. Barbers, recently raised parliamentary inquiries during the 19th Congress’ 1st regular session.

The congressman from the 2nd District of Surigao del Norte, questioned the delisting of Zamboanga del Norte 1st District Congressman Romeo Jalosjos Jr. in the congressional record. During his speech, the Surigao del Norte representative, brought into question if the secretary general elected during the 18th congress still holds office beyond constitutional term and on “what constitutional or legal authority did he exercise his being a de facto secretary general?”

He also raised the question of what power he is allowed to exercise and whether he can delist any member after June 30 from the roll of duly-elected representatives for the incoming Congress. It was learned that Congressman Jalosjos has been proclaimed the winner and will assume office on June 30, 2022, but a Supreme Court Status Quo Ante Order has been issued following his declaration.

With accentuation, Congressman Barbers questioned if by any reason, thus subvert Article 6, Sec. 16, paragraph 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that, “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members … shall not exceed sixty days.”

Rep. Barbers also highlights Section 4 of the House of Representatives Rules, in cases where a candidate has been proclaimed winner by the Commission on Elections and the validity of the proclamation is put in question… shall remain a member of the House.”

Given the factual circumstances and clear provisions of the law, it provides protection to the duly elected representatives. Barbers added that “nowhere in our constitution and our thousands of laws can we find the protestors giving relief to the House’s de facto secretary general, who can exercise the power to subvert the will of the people who elected us and arrogate upon himself the powers reserved to this house.”

It is the electoral tribunal and our courts of law that should decide on this matter. Before ending his speech, the Congressman clarified that “the inquiry is not an upfront to the leadership, but it is just a question on behalf of the Nacionalista Party of which Congressman Jalosjos is a member that he would like to be clarified on.”