House urged to override Aquino veto on SSS pension hike
With the 16th Congress resuming session on Monday, the militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) urged members of the House of Representatives to override the veto of President Benigno Aquino III of the P2,000 Social Security System (SSS) pension increase.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said that overturning Mr. Aquino’s veto was possible as politicians were now shifting their allegiance from the Liberal Party to the camp of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
“As expected, the LP dominance in the House of Representatives is disintegrating. LP members are jumping ship or changing allegiances just as many of them did during the early part of the Aquino government. One way this could be beneficial to the people is if the current members of the House rally behind the motion to override the presidential veto of the SSS pension hike,” said Reyes.
With the President’s and the ruling party’s influence waning, Reyes expressed hopes that lawmakers would be “up to the challenge” of doing a “historic” feat of overriding a presidential veto.
“There is now a chance for lawmakers to do something historic and pass the first ever veto override on an issue that stands to benefit so many SSS pensioners. We have only a few session days remaining. May our lawmakers be up to the challenge,” he said.
Before the House of Representatives suspended its session last February, 89 lawmakers had agreed to support the veto override.
Opposition lawmakers must gather at least 192 votes to override Mr. Aquino’s veto.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte has said that majority of the Liberal Party members in the House are shifting their support for the leadership to Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.
While he was still a presidential candidate, Duterte expressed support for the pension hike.
“Most of the pensioners are already old. Nowadays, the prices of medicines are going up. Most pensioners have hypertension, diabetes or abdominal illnesses. Something has to make up for it (increase in pension),” said the 71-year-old incoming President./rga