President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has vetoed a bill to give more powers to the Office of the Government Legal Counsel (OGCC), Malacañang said on Saturday.
The President vetoed Senate Bill 2490 and its counterpart, House Bill 9088 titled “An Act to Strengthen the Office of the Government Counsel (OGCC) by Streamlining and Further Professionalizing its Organization , improving posts and allocating funds accordingly”.
In a press release, press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles explained that one of the reasons given by the president for the veto was “the excessive compensation to be awarded to OGCC lawyers”.
“Other reasons for the veto were the possible breach of government policy on the One Trust Fund, the granting of oversight and control over the legal services of public companies, and the distortion of the relationship with the Justice Secretary. “Cruz said. -Angèle added.
It is the second time in less than a month that the president has vetoed a bill under his young presidency.
Marcos previously vetoed a bill to establish a special economic zone in the Bulacan airport city of San Miguel Corp., noting its “substantial fiscal risks.”
He pointed out that the proposed law, which was seen as providing alternative areas for investment outside of Metro Manila, violates the mandates of other agencies and reduces the tax base with the incentives to be given to businesses in the special economic zone.
“I find many of its provisions authoritarian, in particular the excessive granting of [remuneration]incentives, benefits and allowances and fees that violate the principles of fairness and standardization,” Marcos said in his veto message.
The OGCC, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, is the “principal and statutory legal office for state-owned and controlled corporations”.
The proposal raises the salary grade of the Government Corporate Counsel from 30 to 31, “effectively at the same level as that of the Justice Secretary”, the president said.
“[That] would distort the supervisor-subordinate relationship between said individuals,” he said.
The bill seeks to allow OGCC officials to increase the number of team members as follows:
• Corporate officer IV: from 10 to 14
• State representative III: from 14 to 19
• Public representative II: from 17 to 20
• State representative I: from 4 to 10
The bill also grants OGCC staff additional benefits such as accident insurance, reimbursement of registration fees and scholarships, among others.
Half of the amount needed to fund the additional benefits would come from OGCC revenues and profits, the bill proposed.
Marcos noted that the proposed award of attorney fees and special assessments “is not awarded in the same way to other attorneys” from other executive agencies.
The President also said that the establishment of a trust fund for the OGCC “is contrary to the principle of the government’s one fund policy”.
“Having reviewed the bill in its entirety and given the strong opposition from Cabinet economic officials due to the unequal pay and the substantial fiscal risks it may pose to the country, I am not convinced “, said Marcos.
“In view of these considerations, I am compelled to veto the aforementioned registered bill.”
As head of the executive branch of government, the president has the power under the 1987 Constitution to veto measures he opposes.
“Any bill passed by Congress must, before becoming law, be presented to the President. If he approves it, he will sign it; otherwise, he will veto it”, stipulates article 27 of the 1987 Constitution.
The President can present his objections to a slated bill in two ways: by vetoing the whole bill or only certain lines or parts of the measure.
Under the same 1987 Constitution, a vetoed bill must be returned to the house of Congress from which it originated for reconsideration and appropriate action within 30 days.
If two-thirds of the members of the original chamber agree to pass the bill, the vetoed measure will be sent to the other chamber for reconsideration. If it obtains the approval of two-thirds of all members of the other chamber, the bill then becomes law.