By Nestor Corrales, March 15 2019; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Image Credit to Rappler

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed the bill that would expand the powers and capabilities of the Office of the Solicitor General, citing that augmenting employee benefits of the agency may be “too onerous to the government.”

In his veto message addressed to Congress dated March 7, Duterte said he considered the “impact” of the bill “on the entire government bureaucracy.”

The President said he was “apprehensive” that the provisions “granting benefits beyond the current compensation framework for other government offices may prove to be too onerous to the government.”

He added that “the benefits granted in addition to the benefits enjoyed by other government offices would erode the National Government’s thrust to standardize and rationalize the current compensation framework in the bureaucracy.”

He furthermore said that it would “create too much disparity and inequality among the public servants in the executive branch.”

“It will undermine the principle of ‘equal pay for work of equal value,’” the President said.

He then urged “Congress to prioritize reviewing this measure once again so that our shared objective of strengthening the OSG would be realized without undermining other equally vital fiscal and policy considerations.”

Under the enrolled Senate Bill No. 1823 and House Bill No. 7376, the OSG would take over the functions of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which is tasked to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

The bill, if approved, would have allowed the OSG to hire more lawyers and increase their benefits as well. /je