Binay saddened by Aquino veto of SSS pension hike

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay said he is saddened by the decision of President Aquino Benigno III to reject House Bill No 5842, which seeks a P2,000-hike ($41.75) in the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) members.

I-vi-veto pala, pinaglagpas pa sa Congress!….Nakakalungkot lang dahil sa konting halaga lang naman ‘yun pero pinagkakait pa? (They let it pass through Congress only to be vetoed in the end! This is saddening because it’s only a small amount yet they withheld from the members),” said Binay in a chance interview with reporters on Wednesday, January 20.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer made the statement after doing his rounds in Barangays 1-3 in Caloocan City, where he briefly gave a speech in front of a crowd of mostly senior citizens at the barangay covered court.

Binay talked about the benefit program for senior citizens in Makati, where he was mayor for 21 years, before personally handing bowls of porridge to the elder residents. 

On Wednesday, the Vice President led a boodle fight at the Juliana Market in Quezon City along with UNA senatorial candidates Alan Montaño, Getulio Napeñas and Rey Langit, former Light Rail Transit Authority administrator Mel Robles, and Buhay Party-list Representative Lito Atienza.

Binay is also visiting Pook Masagana, Bahay Toro in Quezon City later in the afternoon.

No more wasting of time

FROM THE VP'S HANDS. Binay handing out porridge among senior citizens in Caloocan City.

FROM THE VP'S HANDS. Binay handing out porridge among senior citizens in Caloocan City.

Pressed for a more detailed stand on Aquino’s veto on HB No 5842, Binay said he could not comment further because he is yet to read the bill in full. (READ: DOLE says veto of P2,000 SSS hike wise, P500 more viable)

Alam mo sa totoo, hindi ko pa nababasa ‘yung buong batas kaya ‘di ako makapagcomment (I haven’t read the whole bill so I can’t give a comment),” said Binay, who resigned from the Aquino Cabinet last year for its supposed inefficiency. 

Still, Binay said in a previous interview that he would move to have the SSS pension hike approved should he win the presidency in 2016.

Sabi ko nga, sa unang isangdaang araw na panunungkulan bilang pangulo, makikipag-usap kami sa mga congressman at senador saka sa Supreme Court para hindi ho tayo magkaroon ng ganoong pagkakataon. 'Di ba aksaya sa oras iyan? Pasado sa Senado at Kongreso pagkatapos mabi-veto?” said Binay. 

(Like I said, during my first 100 days as president, I will speak with congressmen, senators, and the Supreme Court so we won’t repeated what happened. Wasn’t that a waste of time? It was passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives, but it was vetoed in the end?)

Aquino’s veto on the SSS pension hike has irked many, with one lawmaker calling the President “heartless and callous.” Some of the two million retirees also cried foul, saying they were depending on the P2,000-hike to help pay for their medication.

The President had defended his decision, saying it was based on securing the entire system and the rest of its 29 million members – and more in the future – as opposed to just benefiting 2 million pensioners.

Based on the computation of Aquino and the SSS, the pension hike would wipe out the system by 2027.

SSS president Emilio de Quiros Jr said in a press briefing on Monday that they cannot accommodate the alternative proposals to have P500 and P1,000 increases instead without raising the rates of member contributions. – Rappler.com

US$1 = P47.86

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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