Marcos vetoes bill to 'strengthen' Gov't Corporate Counsel, cites 'excessive benefits, allowances'

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has vetoed the proposed bill seeking to strengthen the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), citing various reasons, including the excessive remunerations for OGCC lawyers.

President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. vetoes the proposed bill seeking to strengthen the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) due to excessive remuneration given to its lawyers.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said this on Saturday, July 22, a few days before the President delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The consolidated Senate Bill 2490 and House Bill 9088 seek to improve government corporations' legal services to efficiently address their expanding needs by strengthening the OGCC as their principal law office.

In his veto letter, President Marcos wrote that while the general intent of the bill is laudable, he could not help but find it "over-bearing."

"I find it over-bearing, specifically the excessive grant of remuneration, incentives, benefits, allowances, and honoraria that violates the principles of equity and standardization," he said.

"Having examined the Bill in its entirety and considering the strong opposition of the Cabinet economic managers due to the inequity in compensation and substantial fiscal risks it may bring to the country, I am not persuaded," he added.

In addition, President Marcos said that the increase in the Salary Grade of the Government Corporate Counsel from 30 to 31, effectively on the same level as the Justice Secretary, would distort the supervisor-subordinate relationship between the said officials.

The President likewise raised concern about the grant of Attorney's Fees and Special Assessments that are not given to other lawyers of different Executive agencies.

He also noted that the control and supervision over the legal departments of all government corporations might be prone to an unbridled abuse of authority.

Lastly, Marcos said that the trust fund in the name of OGCC is against the principle of the government's one-fund policy. According to the Department of Budget and Management, the one-fund concept is a fiscal management policy that requires that all of the government's revenues and other receipts must enter the General Fund, and their utilization and disbursement are subject to the budgeting process.

"In view of these considerations, I am constrained to veto the above-mentioned Enrolled Bill," he said.

This is the second bill that Marcos vetoed since he became President on June 30. He used his veto power for the first time to thumb down House Bill 7575, which seeks to create the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport due to "defects."

Despite this, Angeles assured lawmakers that President Marcos would fully support the measure once the defects were fixed.

San Miguel Corporation, one of the country's biggest conglomerates, is investing P740 billion to turn a 2,500-hectare property in Bulacan into an aerotropolis featuring a world-class gateway capable of handling 100 million passengers annually, plus an adjacent urban and industrial hub.