Villanueva feels 'misled, used' after Duterte veto of anti-endo bill
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday, August 5, said that he felt "misled and used" by the Duterte administration after the President vetoed the anti-endo bill for being opposed to capitalists.
"That's how it appears, that we were misled. We were, the least to say, parang nagamit kami sa proseso…. Kung sasabihin ko pong hindi tayo nagtatampo at hindi masama ang loob ko, I will be [a] hypocrite," Villanueva told reporters in a news briefing.
(That's how it appears, that we were misled. We were, the least to say, used in the process. If I tell you that I do not resent or feel bad, I will be a hypocrite.)
Asked whether senators considered overriding the veto, Villanueva said that some lawmakers in the upper chamber were not comfortable with it. To override the President's veto, two-thirds of the Congress must be in favor of it.
"We talked about the available options for us. One is we are going to override the veto, whether we get it from Senate, it is still a different story what will happen at the House," Villaneuva said.
"Another thing is that a lot of or a number of my colleagues are not comfortable in going to that process of overriding. So we didn't push through with the option," he added.
Villanueva opted for the second choice which was to refile the measure as suggested by Senate President Vicente Sotto III. Last week, Villanueva refiled the same version of the vetoed Security of Tenure bill to know which "exact" provisions are being contested by Duterte's economic managers.
Sotto earlier said that the anti-endo bill will definitely be part of the Senate's priority measures.
As for the lower chamber, Villaneuva said that he had discussed it with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano who "expressed support" for the bill.
Because of the veto, the minority has invited him to join them, albeit jokingly, said Villanueva.
"I don't see whether or not I'll be more valuable if I'm in the minority or I'm in the majority. At the end of the day, [what's important is that] you are able to do your advocacy, what you want to accomplish as a legislator," he said.
Many senators were taken aback by the President's veto, given that the anti-endo bill was certified as urgent in September 2018. Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri previously slammed the executive for its flip-flop on the measure.
"We also wanted to make the administration accountable because it can't be just like that. They have doubts and were disappointed on what happened. We want to know what happened and how they want us to treat priority measures," the senator said.
Villanueva said that they will "definitely invite" Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to explain the reason behind the veto when the assigned committee hears the bill.
In a separate interview on Monday, Zubiri told reporters that it has been agreed during the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council that priority measures will be "given a study" and suggestions as early as when they're at the committee level to avoid another anti-endo bill case.
Zubiri said that this should address problems that could be raised by economic managers.
"So that we don't have to waste time on sessions," Zubiri added.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives approved on 3rd reading its version of the bill in January. The Senate counterpart measure was approved before the session ended in May.