Press Release
February 20, 2016


Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said there are still ways to revive the P2,000-increase in the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) members that was rejected by the Palace, either through an override of the presidential veto when Congress resumes its session after the national elections or an executive order issued by the next president.

Escudero said he has not given up on the legislated SSS pension hike as lawmakers will still have a chance to override President Aquino's veto of the enrolled House Bill No. 5842 when Congress convenes again on May 23.

"Hindi ko po binibitawan ang override ng veto ni Pangulong Aquino... Mula May 23 hanggang June 10 ay may session po kami," said Escudero, the leading vice-presidential candidate in the May 9 elections.

Escudero had earlier initiated a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate to override the presidential veto, which has so far garnered 12 signatures or four votes shy of the required two-thirds majority vote in the upper chamber.

Under the Constitution, Congress can override a veto by passing the bill by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Charter also provides that the override must be initiated by the chamber where the measure originated, which is the House of Representatives in the case of the SSS pension hike bill.

To date, only 75 representatives or more than a third of the 192 votes or two-thirds House membership have signed the override resolution of Partido Galing at Puso senatorial candidate and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, who is also the author of HB 5842.

"Mahaba-habang lakbayin pa 'yun pero may panahon pa naman," Escudero pointed out.

The veteran lawmaker, who is running as independent under the banner "Gobyernong may Puso," appealed to the electorate to campaign and vote for the supporters of the SSS pension hike bill in order for the measure to have a reasonable chance of being passed into law.

"Ang panawagan namin sa ating mga kababayan, ikampanya nyo naman po ang inyong mga congressman na susuporta at pipirma nito," Escudero said.

If the override fails, Escudero said there is a possibility that the next president may increase SSS pension through an executive order.

At the same time, Escudero said that he and his presidential running mate Sen. Grace Poe will put the SSS pension hike on top of their legislative agenda if they win in the May 9 elections.

"Bahagi ng plataporma de gobyerno at first 100 days legislative agenda namin ni Sen. Grace ang pagpasa sa dagdag pension para sa mga SSS retirees," Escudero said.

In the resolution he filed, Escudero maintained that 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.

He explained that with the average national inflation rate of 3.725 percent over the past 4 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.

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