Makabayan claims to have 30% of votes needed to override Aquino veto on SSS pension hike
MANILA — The left-leaning Makabayan bloc has claimed to have amassed a third of the votes needed to override President Aquino’s veto of the bill proposing to increase by P2,000 the monthly pension of Social Security System retirees.
Bayan Muna party-list representative Neri Colmenares said seven more lawmakers have signed a Makabayan-sponsored resolution asking Congress to overturn the presidential veto just days after the House adjourned abruptly without acting on the measure.
“We now have an initial 64 signatures so far collated and we are still gathering the signed resolution from the offices of many congressmen next week,” said Colmenares, a candidate for senator in the 2016 elections.
The House can reverse a presidential veto with a two-thirds vote of the 287-member chamber. The Makabayan bloc would need 192, which Colmenares hopes to even exceed by May 23, the reopening of Congress.
The SSS pension hike bill would have raised retirees’ pensions by P2,000 across the board, but the President, in a highly unpopular decision, vetoed the measure, arguing that it would bankrupt the SSS in a matter of years.
Last week, House leaders abruptly adjourned the session on the legislature’s final working day before the election campaign period, angering dozens of spectators in the gallery, many of them senior citizens, who were lobbying for the veto override to be put to a vote.
But Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the attempt to override the veto would not have succeeded anyway even if the House leadership had allowed a vote. He noted that the Senate had adjourned its own session hours before, and no override could be accomplished with only one chamber pushing for it.
Colmenares said he expected more lawmakers to support their campaign in the coming weeks.
“This is just an initial list and many more congressmen have expressed support for the override. We expect more congressmen to sign as the days pass,” he said.
By May 23, “there would essentially be a new president and my colleagues would not have to fear retaliation from President Aquino,” Colmenares said.
The most recent House members to sign up were Representatives Lino Cayetano of Taguig, Sol Aragones of Laguna, Enrico Echiverri of Caloocan, Kimi Cojuangco of Pangasinan, Toby Tiangco of Navotas, Marcelino Teodoro of Marikina, and Arthur Yap of Bohol. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.