Senate to overturn ‘endo’ bill veto if Palace gives its go-signal — Sotto
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate is willing to overturn President Rodrigo Duterte’s veto of the bill against labor contractualization or “endo” bill if it receives a “go signal” from Malacañang, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Monday.
Congress passed a security of tenure bill, which seeks to protect workers’ rights by removing the ambiguities in laws that prohibit labor-only contracting. However, in 2019, Duterte vetoed the legislation despite that this had been one of his rallying points during the 2016 presidential elections.
“Matagal ang debate, mahaba [The debate took time, it was long]. Naipasa namin finally [We finally passed it]. I signed it, sent it to the President. The President sent me a veto message. Yung definition ata, something to the effect of the contract policy ang di gusto [I think they did not like the definition of the contract policy, something to that effect],” Sotto said at the Kapihan ng Samahang Plaridel media forum.
Sotto said he had reached out to the Palace to determine what specific adjustments it wanted for the anti-endo bill but he “never received an answer.”
“What I did—and [in] consultation with other members of the Senate—was to ask the Palace ‘what do you want so you will not veto. What do you want in the bill?’ We never got an answer. I never received an answer from that time up to now,” Sotto said.
“Now, I don’t know what push this is, but is it throwing back to us what we pass? Just give us the go signal. In that case, if the Palace will give me the go signal as Senate President, I will ask on May 23 we will overturn the Veto, hindi namin kailangan ng bagong bill [we won’t need a new bill],” he added.
Sotto issued this statement after acting presidential spokesperson Secretary Martin Andanar said the bill Congress submitted to Malacañang then “unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting, effectively proscribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to employees involved.”
“The President hopes that Congress would rectify the vetoed provisions as he remains committed to eradicating all forms of abusive employment practices and protecting the workers’ right to security of tenure,” Andanar said.
Andanar made the comment after Sotto, in a town hall meeting in Cebu last week, took a swipe at Duterte’s campaign promise to end labor contractualization.
“I will have to check if the veto has expired,” Sotto went on.
If the veto has not yet expired, he said lawmakers can still override it.
“So if they really want it passed, let me know. And we will override the veto if we can still override it,” he added.
“Ngayon kung ang sinasabi nila ay meron silang ibang laman, iba kasing gusto [Now if they are saying they want something different] then we don’t have time to do it, even the House of Representatives don’t have time to do it. We will be converting ourselves as National Canvassing Board, so I don’t know. And there are very important measures that we need to pass on third reading,” Sotto, however, said.
Senator Panfilo Lacosn, meanwhile, pointed out that the Senate could have made adjustments to reach a “middle ground” on the bill early on if the Palace was able to respond to the upper chamber then.
“Tapos na sana yun. But he (Sotto) never got an answer,” Lacson said.
In July 2021, Duterte’s presidential legislative assistant, Jacinto “Jing” Paras, said ending labor contractualization is no longer a priority of his administration.
Paras said the proposed “endo” (end of contractualization) law is currently not high in Duterte’s list of priorities, especially after he vetoed the security of tenure bill in 2019 amid a strong lobby by business groups, citing its potentially adverse impact on the Philippine economy and employment.
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