President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has vetoed a bill seeking more powers for the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), Malacañang said Saturday.
The President vetoed Senate Bill 2490 and its counterpart, House of Representatives Bill 9088 titled “An Act Strengthening the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) by Rationalizing and Further Professionalizing Its Organization, Upgrading Positions and Appropriating Funds Therefore.”
In a news release, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles explained that one of the reasons cited by the President for the veto was “the excessive remuneration to be given to the OGCC lawyers.”
“The other reasons for the veto were the possible violation of the One Trust Fund policy of the government, the grant of supervision and control over legal departments of government corporations, as well as the distortion of the relationship with the Secretary of Justice,” Cruz-Angeles added.
This is the second time in less than a month the President has vetoed a proposed law under his young presidency.
Marcos earlier vetoed a bill that sought to establish a special economic zone in San Miguel Corp.’s Bulacan Airport City, noting its “substantial fiscal risks.”
He pointed out that the proposed law, which was seen to provide alternative areas for investment outside Metro Manila, infringes on other agencies’ mandates and narrows the tax base with the incentives to be given to businesses in the special economic zone.
“I find many of its provisions overbearing, specifically the excessive grant of [remuneration], incentives, benefits and allowances and honoraria that violates the principles of equity and standardization,” Marcos said in his veto message.
The OGCC, which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, is the “principal and statutory law office of government-owned and controlled corporations.”
The proposal hikes the salary grade of the Government Corporate Counsel from 30 to 31, “effectively on the same level as that of the Secretary of Justice,” the President said.
“[That] would distort the supervisor-subordinate relationship between the said individuals,” he said.
The bill seeks to allow OGCC officials to increase the number of personnel from the team as follows:
• Government corporate attorney IV: from 10 to 14
• Government corporate attorney III: from 14 to 19
• Government corporate attorney II: from 17 to 20
• Government corporate attorney I: from 4 to 10
The bill also gives OGCC personnel additional benefits such as accident insurance, registration fee reimbursements, and scholarships, among others.
Half of the amount needed to fund the additional benefits would be sourced from the OGCC’s revenues and earnings, the bill proposed.
Marcos noted that the proposed grant of attorney’s fees and special assessments “is not similarly given to other lawyers” of other executive agencies.
The President also said the creation of a trust fund for the OGCC “is against the principle of the government’s one-fund policy.”
“Having examined the Bill in its entirety and considering the strong opposition of the Cabinet economic managers due to the inequity in compensation and substantial fiscal risks it may bring to the country, I am not persuaded,” Marcos said.
“In view of these considerations, I am constrained to veto the above-mentioned enrolled bill.”
As the head of the government’s executive branch, the President is granted under the 1987 Constitution the power to veto measures that he or she objects to.
“Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same, he shall sign it; otherwise, he shall veto it,” Section 27 of the 1987 Constitution states.
The President may enter his or her objections to an enrolled bill in two ways: by vetoing the entire bill or only certain lines or portions of the measure.
Under the same 1987 Constitution, a vetoed bill should be returned to the chamber of Congress where it originated for reconsideration and appropriate action within 30 days.
If two-thirds of the members of the originating chamber agree to pass the bill, the vetoed measure will be sent to the other chamber for its reconsideration. If it gets the approval of two-thirds of all members of the other chamber, the bill then becomes a law.