“These gadgets can cause disruption and distraction during sessions and committee hearings. Impairing decorum due to their abuse and misuse can be considered unparliamentary acts,” Santiago said in a statement released Saturday.
On Sept. 3, Defensor-Santiago filed Senate Resolution No. 228, recommending the Senate revise and update its Rules on the decorum of its members and guests on the use of electronic devices during Senate sessions and committee hearings.
Santiago’s recommendation comes at the heels of media reports showing legislators caught playing mobile games during committee hearings. Early last month, Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile was caught playing ‘Bejeweled’ on his iPad during a lull in a Senate inquiry. The 89-year-old explained that the game helped to exercise his mind.
Enrile’s action irked Defensor-Santiago enough for the latter to take a swipe at the former for playing the popular tile-matching game during Senate proceedings.
“The Senate Rules should accommodate for the technologically determined changes in society, in this case the prevalent use of gadgets in everyday life. Despite troubling times for the Senate as an institution, the Senate should always maintain and observe a level of decorum this high office deserves,” Defensor-Santiago said.
The resolution reads: “The move toward a ‘paperless’ Senate means an increasingly prevalent use of electronic and mobile devices by members of the Senate during sessions and committee hearings, making it necessary to draw up new Senate rules on the proper decorum of senators in the use of these devices befitting of their stature as public servants.” — VC, GMA News