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Solons see speedy passage of vetoed measures in 16th Congress

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- Lawmakers are not fretting too much over the bills vetoed recently by President Benigno Aquino III, saying the re-filed measures can be fast-tracked through the 16th Congress.

Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II and Deputy Majority Leader Janette Garin said since the bills have gone through deliberation at the committee level, their approval, including any amendments, can be done speedily.

Since becoming president, Aquino has vetoed 71 bills, 11 of which are of national significance, including the Centenarian Act, a measure protecting internally displaced persons, and the Magna Carta for the Poor.

Among the reasons he gave was the lack of funding to implement the proposed laws.

Garin saw a silver lining in the vetoes, calling them “a blessing in disguise because we would be able to perfect measures, which are really needed. If the bills were approved and there was no funding for it, then it would be hard to implement them, too."

"When we open session in July, probably these will all be passed. They would be perfected, the solutions would be there to the problems, which might be minor initially, but which the Office of the President, has seen as major because they make the implementation impossible for a very good bill," she added.

But Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, who is looking to retain the post in the next Congress, admonished Cabinet members for not participating enough during the bills’ deliberation at the committee level.

"I'd like to call on the Cabinet members, if the bills are important, come here yourself, don't send your underlings. And if you adopted a particular position here, when you go to Malacanang, defend that position.  Hindi iyong pinapakiramdaman niyo iyong feeling ni President pagkatapos nag-a-adjust din ang opinyon niyo. Kung ano ang opinyon niyo rito, panindigan niyo (Don’t measure how the President feels and then adjust your opinions. Whatever your opinions are here [in the House], stand by them)," he said.

Belmonte also underscored the need for more meetings of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council, which gathers leaders of Congress and the executive branch to discuss a common legislative agenda.

In a separate interview, Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II suggested that department heads use the month-long period before the 16th Congress opens to come up with proposed measures that can be sponsored by members of the chamber.
He also said that the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office should "work triple time" in coordinating the work of Congress with Malacanang.

"Ang veto masakit iyon (A veto hurts). Although under the Constitution, Congress is allowed to override the veto, but it's just a myth, mahirap maging katotohanan (it’s hard to make it a reality)," Gonzales said.  

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