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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, February 8, 2016
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Overturning SSS pension veto
uphill battle, Leonardia says

The Makabayan Bloc's move to overturn the  President's veto over the proposed P2,000 increase in the monthly Social Security Services pension of about two million senior citizens in the country remains an uphill battle as it may not get the required two-thirds votes, Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia said yesterday.

About 57 lawmakers have already signed up to override the veto of the President. But this is very short of the 192 members needed to get the necessary two-thirds votes in the House, he said.

However, the house leadership unceremoniously and abruptly ended the session Wednesday without allowing a vote on the override motion.

Leonardia said the Nationalist People's Coalition had a series of consultations and meetings about the matter. But he was never approached by the proponents.

At the precise moment when the session was called to adjourn, he was with the President and Secretary General of the NPC in the room talking, he said.

“We were a case overtaken by events. Insofar as that issue is concerned, we trace back the problem to, probably, the coordination of particularly the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office because it should have been discussed at the level of the Committee,” Leonardia said.

They should have called the attention of those concerned so that when this is submitted by the Committee to the floor for plenary approval, practically, all of them will approve it, thinking that there was no problem with this. Both the Lower House and the Senate also approved this, he said.

Leonardia said there must have been a lot of constraint there. Now that the problem has been raised, their position is that they really wanted to explore it or study it further.

Although he was inclined to go for the override, he also told his colleagues that they have to listen to reason. However, by this time it is moot and academic, he said.

The chances that this measure can be overturned is still very tight, Leonardia said.

"I can't tell exactly what will happen. But for that matter, I don't know if the group that pushed for it really has the number because what is needed is two-thirds vote  of all the 287 congressmen,” he said.

Leonardia said he believes that what was needed was something like 192 votes. They were not sure if there was a number. They will have to wait and see the result after the election, he added.*CGS






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