If the opposite of the prefix “pro-” is “con-,” then the Philippine congress really loves demonstrating exactly what they are the opposite of. While we realize that their job description really involves them making laws for the Filipino people, apparently, nobody told them that these laws actually had to make a lick of sense. For example, how many roads and schools and buildings have been renamed in this year alone, pray tell?
Most of the laws in the list below thankfully never got past the proposal stage, but it isn't exactly surprising to find us inundated with laws as patently idiotic as...
Proposed By: Rep. Winnie Castelo, Quezon City, 2nd District.
The Bill: Because planking was such a big thing back in 2011, and because it was used for political demonstrations a couple of times, the good congressman Winnie Castelo decided to ban planking for protest purposes. To his credit, he didn't just ban planking wholesale, but a specific application of it.
What Were They Thinking?!? Planking is a trend. I'm a trendy congressman. Therefore...
It Gets Dumb: That's great! Let's curb the rights of people to address their grievances and curtail the freedoms they are actually more than entitled to. Not only will we attack a symptom of the problem instead of the problem itself, we will even do it in the most petulant and asinine way possible!
And Dumber: Hey, guys. Show of hands. Do you still even remember what the heck planking was? Yeah, didn't think so.
Proposed By: Councilor Jose Tamayo, Dagupan.
The Bill: Anyone driving a motorcycle at 15 Kilometers or slower is required to remove their motorcycle helmet. Anyone on a motorcycle approaching checkpoints also has to remove their helmet. You are fined 200 for the first offense, 300 for the second, 500 plus imprisonment for the third.
What Were They Thinking?!? Criminals on motorcycles use helmets to conceal their identity. We don't want criminals on motorcycles running around willy-nilly. Therefore...
It Gets Dumb: Let's not even discuss how dangerous riding without a helmet is. Everyone knows that already (except the guys who made this law, apparently.) Considering how much people pay for their RFIDs in compliance with the national motorcycle helmet law, there is an obvious conflict between the national law and the ordinance here, since anyone wearing a helmet gets arrested by LTO enforcers, and anyone not wearing a helmet gets arrested by Dagupan enforcers. There's also the fact that criminals don't necessarily have to slow down while committing drive-by shootings or snatchings, which means the law doesn't even prevent a damned thing.
It Gets Dumber: In the middle of a transportation crisis, Mandaluyong decided to have its own anti-riding-in-tandem ordinance by banning two people from riding in a motorcycle -unless they're family. Because family members never commit crimes together, right, Jinggoy?
Proposed By: Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo, Valenzuela.
The Bill: Manny Pacquiao, world champion boxer, singer, politician, and recent first round draft pick in the PBA, will be exempt from paying taxes for the rest of his life because jab jab hook straight.
What Were They Thinking?!? Manny is really having a hard time keeping his taxes in order! He brought so much pride to our country, we should totally let him off the hook (no pun intended)!
It Gets Dumb: You mean to tell me that a guy who makes millions of dollars from his fights shouldn't pay taxes while we Filipino citizens who never even see that amount of money in our entire lifetime still have to give a third of our income for corrupt politicians to fatten their pocketbooks with?
And Dumber: Doing this won't prevent the IRS from running after Pacquiao. And he has problems with those guys, too.
Proposed By: Mar Roxas, DILG Secretary
The Bill: Well, since he wasn't a lawmaker at the time, Mar Roxas merely suggested banning hammers, crowbars, and other hardware items inside malls.
What Were They Thinking?!? Well, the Martilyo Gang uses hammers, right? No martilyo, no gang!
It Gets Dumb: So wait. Hammers are banned in malls, but they're readily available in hardwares? Yeah, that's really efficient.
It Gets Dumber: Yet another instance of attacking the symptoms of the problem instead of the problem itself! What next? After banning hardware items, will this lead to the rise of the Baseball Bat Gang instead?
Proposed By: Councilor Allan Reyes, 3rd District
The Bill: Because the comedians in your typical Klownz and Punchline bars tend to revel in poking fun at its audience, a regulatory board must be formed to ensure that “unseemly, obscene, or filthy acts, lewd, or indecent, immoral, or insulting conduct” shall be kept an eye out for and penalized with fines and imprisonment for the comedy bar owners who allow these types of performances to happen.
What Was He Thinking?!? Wow, can't I just go to a comedy bar in peace and laugh at other people instead of having the host pick on me?
It Gets Dumb: Who defines what is “unseemly, obscene, or filthy,” and so forth? These are very vague words and people have varying thresholds of tolerance for edgy humor. If you don't want to get picked on by comedians, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't be going to their comedy bars?
And Dumber: There already happens to be standup comedy that doesn't rely on insulting the audiences, and they're right there for the watching, if you just bothered to look them up. Here, let me help you: meet the Comedy Cartel, Comedy Manila, and Mike Unson.
Proposed By: Representatives Irwin Tieng and Mariano Velarde, Party-list, BUHAY.
The Bill: Anyone caught producing, selling, or in possession of dildos, vibrators, or other similar gadgets shall be penalized. Severely. Because these sex toys are corrupting the youth!
What Were They Thinking?!? God gave you hands to work with. Is that not enough?!?
It Gets Dumb: Hooray for legislating morality! Heaven forbid that sexual pleasure be pursued just as much or more than sex for procreation! Never mind that the Song of Songs has tons to say on that subject and is part of the Bible.
And Dumber: What part of “separation of church and state” do you not understand, Mr. Son-of-Brother-Mike Velarde?
Proposed By: Representative Rufus Rodriguez, 2nd District, Cagayan de Oro.
The Bill: People are not allowed to take somebody else's photo without their permission. This includes selfies with other people in the background. Those other people are covered by this law. This is also the most recently proposed law among the lot.
What Was He Thinking?!? Maybe I can win points with the internet if I join on the hate bandwagon of selfies because something something privacy.
It Gets Dumb: it isn't like we don't already have anti-stalking or harrasment laws. So now, photobombers can now troll your picture and then sue you afterwards.
And Dumber: The word “selfie” has now somehow made it into the hallowed records of Congress. Hey, at least, most other stupid laws still used nice, lawyer-y words. But not this one.
Proposed By: Oh. Hi there again, Representative Winnie Castelo, 2nd District, Quezon City!
The Bill: Grand winners of the megalotto will be required to donate 20% of their winnings to the government. 10% goes to housing. 10% goes to education.
What Was He Thinking?!? Gee, I get about 50 million bucks a year in pork barrel allocations. What can I do to help out with housing and education? Oh, that's right. I'll ask lotto winners to give a chunk of their winnings back to us!
It Gets Dumb: If they didn't promise “tax-free” lottery winnings to begin with, we wouldn't even need to propose a bill like this. It would just happen.
And Dumber: Winnie Castelo is a second-term congressman. Have we not yet learned, Quezon City?!?