No House action on Rep. Singson until HK ruling

THE House of Representatives’ official stand on Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson, who is facing drug-related case in Hong Kong, is to await the decision of the HK court before taking any formal action.

This was the statement of House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II in relation to the proposal of a party-list lawmaker urging the House leadership to initiate moves to expel the Ilocos Sur solon.

“The official stand of the House is to await the decision of the Hong Kong court. Until such a time that he (Singson) is proven guilty, he still enjoys the presumption of innocent,” said Gonzales.

“We will be waiting for the result before we take any formal action because he can still choose to plead not guilty and fight the case against him. There is still no reason for us to expel him,” he noted.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga believes it is still “premature” to discuss any disciplinary action against Singson as the case is still pending in court.

“At this stage, I think it would be premature to discuss any disciplinary action by the House against Rep. Ronald Singson. We have to wait for the final outcome of his case,” he said

Singson, 42, was arrested at the Hong Kong airport in July 2010 after he was caught while allegedly carrying 26 grams of cocaine in his luggage. He is free on bail but cannot leave the Chinese territory.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello earlier urged Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to initiate moves to expel from Congress the Ilocos Sur lawmaker after his (Singson) lawyer said he would plead guilty to trafficking a dangerous drug at a January 26 court hearing.

Bello, himself facing an ethics complaint at the Lower Chamber for disorderly behavior and using “unparliamentary remarks” when he delivered a scathing privilege speech against former president and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in July last year, said the Speaker should treat Singson’s case with an iron fist to save the Chamber’s image.

“It’s the responsibility of the (House) leadership to file charges,” he said.

Before a member of the House of Representatives could be expelled or meted with any disciplinary action, a complaint should be filed against him/her before the ethics committee.

The committee members will discuss the complaint and their decision will be presented to the plenary for the consideration of the entire Chamber, which can either adopt or reject the committee’s decision. PNA

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