Palace says Duterte to sign Road Board abolition as Senate, House clash
Marje Pelayo • December 18, 2018 • 2574
FILE PHOTO: Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press briefing on Tuesday (December 18) said President Rodrigo Duterte is likely to sign the bill abolishing the Road Board “as soon as it is given to him.”
Panelo said he believes the President would do so since he, the President, is against the release of the P45 billion pesos road users’ tax due to issues of corruption.
“Yes, that’s what is needed. We want that the fund be returned to the treasury and then let the Congress appropriate again for specific purpose,” Panelo said in a palace briefing.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Senate’s position on the bill remains as the senators strongly believe that the road user’s tax has become a huge source of corruption among lawmakers.
“It’s good as abolished dahil hindi na iri-release ng executive department ang funding noon. Ngayon kung ipipilit pa rin nila, perhaps somebody should bring it to the proper venue, kung courts ang kailangan dito para ma-resolve iyan,” Sotto explained.
The Senate passed and adopted in September the House version of a bill abolishing the Road Board filed by former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez due to anomalies over the use of motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC).
But the Lower House through House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. later on filed a motion to rescind the approval of the said bill leaving it hanging in a balance.
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, meanwhile, argued that abolishing the Road Board would affect the funding of several government services.
“Kapag tinanggal ang Road Boardm mawawala ang dedicated fund to address pollution at safety,” Suarez concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Bernard Dadis)
Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte is still pondering on whether or not to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States Summit in March.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President expressed willingness to visit the United States, however the president is not sure whether his visa will be approved.
Panelo added Duterte might not want to visit the US since some US senators “would be unhappy to see him”. This is amid the resolution of banning the entry of Philippine officials involved in imprisoning former Senator Leila de Lima.
The Palace official also clarified that the President is not enforcing conditions regarding his visit in the US.
“From what I look at his responses, gusto niya pumunta, iyan ang naisip ko, (he wants to visit, that’s what I think),” Panelo said. “[Duterte] just expressed certain sentiments relative to some issues that may affect his entry.”
Duterte has been previously invited by US President Donald Trump but he refused due to the extreme weather conditions in the US as well as the long-hour flight.
Panelo cited that the recent invitation was not a personal one so the President is still pondering on whether to accept the invitation or not.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s satisfaction rating has reached a new record high, according to the recent survey of Social Weather Stations (SWS).
Based on the 4th Quarter 2019 SWS Survey, Duterte got a 72% excellent net satisfaction rating, which is seven points higher compared to his September rating of 65%.
Malacañang welcomed the survey result saying President Duterte still has the support of the people.
“This means that the President has the support of the people, for which he is very thankful. But more than that, the people support him because they feel his legacy of real change,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar .—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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