Congress’ writing laws

After Congress has accomplished its bounden “power of the purse”, two other duties there remain, viz: its constituency work (euphemism for “bringing home the bacon”) and its oversight function. But why should Congress review, monitor and supervise the implementation of public policy as if everything has gone loco in the way the executive branch performs its role?

It seems that efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability are hardly achieved to the consternation of the legislative branch, in the context of the tripartite system of government, where the judicial branch plays the final arbiter in legal controversies. If a public policy is difficult to implement, why doesn’t the executive ‘return it to the sender’, or the legislature for repeal?

If any line department cannot fulfill its mandate — free of cleavages, gaps, or red flags — then Congress should probably go slow with producing legislated enactments by the number — at both local and national plains. Too many “unfunded mandates” graphically demonstrate the penchant of the legislative mill to churn out pieces of legislation that just stockpile.

Worse, they keep coming. Anybody can cite at least 10 to 20 weird laws even crazy ones by their sponsoring authors; the proper subject of ridicule simply because anything that catches the fancy of legislators — from the less to the more educated types — becomes the trigger.

A legislative proposal is either a bill or a resolution designated accordingly based on which chamber it originated (i.e. House bill/resolution or Senate bill/resolution). There being more in membership than its counterpart, the House of Representatives tends to achieve better democratic outcomes from its committee or public hearings.

It isn’t far removed that bicameral conferences over congressional measures in consideration must engage the wisdom of both the House and Senate contingents to sort of “round off” the conflicting provisions, if any.  Not strangely, this is when “leverage and compromise” take place.

There may have been laws that are more on the breach than on compliance or simply rendered irrelevant because they did not result in the outcome they should engender. For example, the seat belt law is likely already forgotten, and the sin tax law for another — a classic case of “bad means to good ends”.

Other variations on a theme are found in present bills or resolutions pending at either House or Senate. Though some fall on the classification of bills of national importance, chances are they are actually of no importance whatsoever (i.e. making an orchid a national flower or the ban of junk foods from schools or limiting the weight of bags of school children).

From criminal to comical, how can there be a law or proposed law increasing the penalty for theft or robbery committed within the premises of churches, temples, and museums?  On the matter of consented abduction, why make a distinction on whether or not the girl is a virgin?

With about 316 members of the 19th Congress (i.e. HOR), it makes one wonder whether the message that proposed legislative measures articulate is intended for six-year-old kids. What’s that about premature marriages when a widow must first count 301 days or should give birth first if pregnant at the time of her husband’s death before a penalty and a fine could be imposed?

Furthermore, the case that kind of extinguished criminal liability and reduced it to a mere civil liability in crimes against property where those involved are spouses, brothers, and sisters, “parallel” in-laws — really escape comprehension. One must be brave to ask whether or not the figurative but much revered Lady Justice is not actually blindfolded but can see right through her very eyes.

Some 19 years ago, even human cloning in the Philippines has been prohibited via a proposed House bill. Legend has it that the author might have watched The Stepford Wives remake and it scared the wits out of him, hence authored a measure in 2004 — straight from the movie house.

Where art thou the master repertoire?


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