Press Release
February 3, 2016


In the event that Congress fails to override President Aquino's veto, vice-presidential candidate Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said that he and his presidential running mate Sen. Grace Poe will put the proposed P2,000 increase in the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) members on top of their legislative agenda if they win in the May national elections.

Escudero said that although his resolution expressing the sense of the Senate to override the presidential veto was only three votes shy of the required two-thirds majority vote, the senators must wait for the action of the House of Representatives where the SSS pension hike bill originated.

The House needs at least 194 votes while the Senate needs 16 to override the president's veto. Under Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution, the override must be initiated by the chamber where the measure originated.

"Kung hindi man ito mao-override, layunin namin ni Sen. Grace at bahagi ng aming legislative agenda sa unang 100 araw na ipasa ito at isabatas ito dahil matagal nang hinaing ito ng SSS pensioners," said Escudero, the vice-presidential frontrunner, during his visit to Vigan City.

As of last Monday, Escudero said 13 senators had signed his resolution, including Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, the only member of the Senate who opposed the bill when it was voted upon in the plenary on Nov. 19 last year. A total of 15 senators voted for the passage of the SSS pension hike bill then.

Aside from Escudero and Poe, among those who voted for the approval of the SSS pension hike bill in the upper chamber were Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, and Senators Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Teofisto Guingona III, Gringo Honasan, Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Sergio Osmeña III, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Escudero had earlier admitted that the Senate resolution was aimed to pressure the House to override Aquino's veto. "Bakit ko po ginawa iyon? Para dagdag pressure po sa House para gawin po nila ang trabaho nila dahil nakahanda kaming gawin ang trabaho namin."

The veteran lawmaker also insisted he was not pushing for the SSS pension hike bill for political reasons, saying he was just being consistent in defending the interests of SSS retirees who deserve upward adjustment in their monthly pension.

In the resolution he filed, Escudero said the proposed increase was necessary to provide "immediate and tangible relief" to some 2 million SSS pensioners, considering that the current minimum pension of P1,200 was not enough to cover their sustenance with the high cost of living.

"The policy laid down by Congress in passing HB 5842 is to give immediate and tangible relief to SSS pensioners whose minimum monthly pension is P1,200, which is way below the poverty line and not even enough to sustain a senior's daily basic needs; as the old Filipino proverb goes, 'aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo,'"Escudero pointed out.

He explained that with the average national inflation rate of 3.725 percent over the past four years, even the average monthly pension of P3,169 was not enough to cover the rising cost of living for the past 18 years.

The National Statistical Coordinating Board pegs the monthly poverty threshold for a family of 5 at P8,022 per month, Escudero noted.

News Latest News Feed