Duterte vetoes bill strengthening OSG

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By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has vetoed the bill strengthening the Office of the Solicitor-General, citing benefits granted therein may be “too onerous” for the government.

“The new 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,” the President said in his veto message.

The letters addressed to Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III were sent on Friday.

The President also urged Congress to review the measure, in a way that will strengthen the OSG without undermining equality across executive branches.

“It will create too much disparity and inequality among the public servants in the executive branch,” the President said.

He also noted the provisions in the measure will undermine the “equal pay for work of equal value” principle.

Among others, the measure mandates the OSG to be an independent and autonomous office attached to the Department of Justice, as opposed to existing law that a Solicitor-General represents the government in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and before other court proceedings.

The proposed law will also automatically increase all pension benefits of retired Solicitors-General, Assistant Solicitors-General, and State Solicitors, whenever there is an increase in the salary and allowance in the same position from which they retired. It will also grant death and survivorship benefits.