Congress urged to override Aquino’s veto on pension hike
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero is urging colleagues in Congress to override what he described as “ill-advised” veto of President Benigno Aquino III of a bill which grants a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the pension of retired Social Security System (SSS) members.
“It is saddening because our SSS pensioners have waited long enough for this measure,” Escudero said in a statement on Thursday.
“There is no better time than now to have the SSS pension hike bill enacted into law, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate and members of the House of Representatives to do the right thing and vote to override the President’s ill-advised veto of this bill,” he said.
The senator pointed out that under Article VI, Section 27 of the 1987 Constitution, Congress can override a presidential veto by passing the bill with a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“We need to muster the two-thirds majority vote to override the veto. It may be difficult but we will try for the sake of our SSS pensioners,” said Escudero.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III earlier said that it would be difficult for Congress to override the veto.
“Congress may override the President’s veto but it will be difficult to get a two-thirds vote,” Recto said in a separate statement.
“I doubt it. Matagal ng panahon na walang override na nangyayari sa ating bansa,” Sotto said in another statement.
Escudero had earlier said that private sector retirees, many of whom are salaried employees whose incomes have been heavily taxed during their working years, need immediate help to cope with the rising cost of living.
“A significant increase in pension is necessary to enable our senior citizens maintain an acceptable living standard, taking into consideration the ever-increasing cost of living,” he said.
The existing monthly SSS pensions, he said, are “without question, not enough for seniors to afford their basic needs like shelter, food and medicine.”
“A decent pension would keep the elderly out of poverty and allow them to complete their life journey with dignity and comfort,” Escudero said.
He said experiences in other countries also showed that giving bigger pension to senior citizens, especially those living below the poverty line, resulted in better life conditions for a larger population as the elders share their benefits with the members of their household by buying food, supplies, clothes and even school materials for their grandchildren.
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