Palace, Congress clash on SSS hike


    Malacañang and Congress appear headed for a collision after President Benigno Aquino 3rd vetoed a recently-enacted bill mandating a P2,000 across-the-board hike for two million pensioners of the Social Security System (SSS).

    Incensed by the presidential rejection, lawmakers at the Senate and House of Representatives said Aquino does not have the last say because Congress can override his veto.

    Explaining his decision, the President said he returned the enrolled House Bill 5842 unsigned because of the bill’s “dire financial consequences” that may compromise the entire benefits system.

    “While we recognize the objective of the bill to promote the well-being of the country’s private-sector retirees, we cannot support the bill in its present form,” he told Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

    The bill was transmitted for the President’s signature on December 15, 2015.
    But Aquino said approving the pension increase would leave the SSS bankrupt.

    “Approving the corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension will result in substantial negative income for the Social Security System. More specifically, the proposed pension increase of P2,000.00 per retiree, multiplied by the present number of more than two (2) million pensioners, will result in a total payout of P56.0 billion annually,” he explained in his letter.

    “Compared against annual investment income of P30 billion-P40 billion, such total payment for pensioners will yield a deficit of P16 billion-P26 billion annually,” the President pointed out.

    Aquino said that once passed, the measure will bleed the resources of the SSS, which “will be constrained to draw from and use its Investment Reserve Fund [IRF] to support the pension increase.”

    “Consequently, the IRF will diminish over the years, eventually reaching zero by the year 2029.”

    The proposed hike would have amended Section 12 of Republic Act 1661, as amended, or the Social Security Act of 1997.

    Lawmakers said the pension increase can still be implemented if Congress exercises its power to override the President’s veto.

    Under Article VI, Section 27 of the 1987 Constitution, the House of Representatives and the Senate can overturn a presidential veto with a two-thirds vote of the members of each chamber.

    If two-thirds of the members of the House vote to pass the bill, the measure shall be sent to the Senate, or vice versa, for similar consideration.

    If two-thirds of the members of the other chamber approve the measure, it shall become a law.

    Senators Francis Escudero and Ralph Recto, as well as House Deputy Minority Leader Neri Colmenares, called on their colleagues to overturn the President’s decision.

    “We need to muster the two-thirds majority vote to override the veto. It may be difficult but we will try for the sake of our SSS pensioners,” Escudero said.

    Recto said it will be difficult to get a two-thirds vote but he will support any move to override the President’s veto.

    The Senate President Pro-Tempore also noted that if Aquino finds the P2,000 pension increase too high, he should offer a compromise.

    Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also deplored the President’s decision.

    “Governance is about caring for the people especially those who are incapable or less capable of taking care of themselves. I hope the President is not missing this point,” Marcos said.

    He noted that pensioners, most of them sickly, depend on their monthly SSS pension for their basic needs.

    “I am one of the authors of the Senate version of the measure and now that the President has decided against it, I hope the government has other plans to uplift the living conditions of SSS pensioners,” Marcos said.

    Senator Grace Poe, who was also saddened by the rejection, called on the SSS board to come up with an alternative to the proposed pension hike.

    “There is no doubt that there is a need to increase SSS pension while ensuring the fund of the agency is stable,” she added.

    Senator Cynthia Villar, the sponsor of the SSS bill, said Aquino’s decision will affect the chances of his candidates in the May 16 elections this year.

    Colmenares insisted that the P2,000 pension increase is reasonable.

    “The P2,000 hike is badly needed by pensioners and their dependents. There are pensioners who only receive as low as P1,200 monthly and we have 1.9 million pensioners. Has the President lost his heart? This [move]is anti-pensioner, anti-poor and anti-worker,” the lawmaker said.

    “The President’s concern that the SSS will go bankrupt is a phantom fear. I am now calling on the House of Representatives and the Senate to side with the people and override the Aquino veto. The fight is not yet over,” he added.

    Former Justice Secretary and 1-BAP party-list Silvestre Bello 3rd and Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio echoed the call of Colmenares.

    “If Congress knows what’s good for our pensioners, then it should move to override the President’s veto,” Bello said.

    “President Aquino has denied desperately needed relief to two million SSS pensioners, many of whom receive as little as P1,200 per month. The convenient bugbear of reduced actuarial life [for SSS]cannot be used to justify the veto because there’s more than enough time to implement measures that would improve the revenues of SSS,” Tinio said.

    Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan and Luz Ilagan found the President’s action “callous.”

    “All it takes is to trim the perks of fat cat executives in the SSS. It is unjust and immoral to get millions while members get paltry pension payments,” Ridon said.

    “Congress should override the veto. The President gives this very flimsy excuse after the bill hibernated in Malacañang waiting for his signature. He is so insensitive to the plight of pensioners who need additional support for medicines and other basic needs. So dense!” Ilagan said.

    Even the President’s allies namely Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and fellow Liberal Party member and Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo were disappointed.

    Batocabe said the feared SSS “bankruptcy” can be addressed since the next administration can certify urgent a bill that will increase SSS premium payments.

    “It is unfortunate that the President vetoed a pro-people and social justice legislation that will enhance the way of life of our pensioners. It could have been one of his great legacies,” he noted.

    “The veto of such an important piece of legislation is disappointing. It shows that the economic achievements talked about by the administration are either not true, or at the very least, exclusive to a few,” Romulo said.

    Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano warned that the President’s rejection of the proposed pension hike could be detrimental to Malacanang’s candidates in this year’s polls.

    “The decision of the President might adversely affect his [candidates’ chances in the May 2016 elections],” Albano, head of the House contingent for the Commission on Appointments, said in a separate statement.



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    1. Victor Barcinal on

      Common sense tells me, hindi pinag aralan ang panukalang batas. I prefer SSS magsabi kung ano mangyayari at hindi politiko. Akala ko na Invest ang pera at tumubo na sa loob ng 10-20 taon.

    2. He don’t want to pass the house bill on it’s present form.

      Tulad din ng di pagpasa ng congress sa BBL in its present form

      Halata naman masyado ang “paghihiganti” ni PNoy. Kaya lang mga mamamayan ang apektado, tulad ng paghigiganti ni Cory kay Marcos

    3. I will be retiring in 15 years, if this law is passed, SSS will not be there to give me my retirement benefits by then. In short, my contributions for 65 years would have gone down the drain. If this law is passed, i want out of the SSS program. Give me back my contributions.

    4. Simply lang nmn. Just implement the bill as a law then adjust through time. Those 2 million people the government are talking about are mostly elderly people meaning their life expentancy are really less. The veto only states that Pnoy’s term “Boss” is not for the people but for himself. Imagine the increasing of salary of all government employee including the president had been approved yet when in come to SSS is not approve? Whatever it is, Pnoy, for me, is really a dummy president. Imagine the government bought Jet fighters in the use of what? that is billions… how about the apec summit? another billions.. SSS pensioners are uncapable to work and old. The only source of income is the pension provided by SSS.

    5. Magaling magyabang si pnoy sa dayuhan at sa mga kapitalista ganid,pero sa mahihirap na pensionado ng SSS ay pinapatay nya…..
      Ang taunang perks,bonus at kung anupang incentibo ng mga pinuno ng SSS,sila2 lang ang nag usap at inaprobahan na walang kaalaman ang mga nagbabayad ng contribution na mga myembro.Samantalang ,pag benipisyo ng SSS retiree,at ng mga myembro,taunang at katakot-takot na. Regodon ang dadaanin,wala din pala mapapala.
      Bakit nga ba pinakikialaman ng taong gobyerno ang pera ng pribado,diba dapat kami mga myembro ng SSS ang dapat mamahala nito.” PERA NAMIN ITO.” .

    6. Naman…sabi nila dugong chinese dw c ninoy kaya wla syang puso sa masa pero pag mga negosyanteng chinese ay mabilis pa sa kidlat ang action nya..at hndi denied kundi request accepted..

    7. Do not vote for any Liberal Party candidates. If you do not like tuwid na daan ni Pinoy, do not vote for any candidates. Very simple answer to a very easy problem. This is not the end for Pinoy, watch out for Mamasapano and corruption from MRT LRT. Arroyo and Pinoy will have 2 separate rooms in the hospital.

    8. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      15 Jan. 2016

      President Aquino was right to veto that Bill giving a P2,000 monthly increase in pension to the SSS’s around-2 million pensioners.

      That increase in monthly pension will bankrupt the SSS, and the 2 million SSS pensioners and their families will be the tragic losers.


    9. Kung balak nila mag-increase ng pension, dapat sabayan na rin ng increase sa premium payments. Sana balance man lang ang ginawa nila.

      Pero sa bagay yung dagdag pension lang ang gusto nila ipasa kasi yun ang makakakuha ng boto, pero ayaw nila banggitin ang taas sa premium payments ng mga manggagawa kasi baka yun naman ay makakabawas ng mga boto nila.

    10. cynthia manuel on

      akal ko ba ay umuunlad na tayo? na ilang hakbang na lang ay 1st world na daw tayo? nasaan yun? or we shouldn’t take that literally din?

    11. Whoever crafted and voted this legislation do not have the clue on what they are doing. They should have came up or started the increase with certain percentage, like the percent of the consumer price index or inflation rate. Isn’t it that the amount of pension or retirement for retired people are different in amount? Why then give them a P2000 increase across the board? When a person retires after working for so many years, isn’t this person only receives certain percentage on the money he /she put in to the SSS? What I am saying here is that, it will not be fair and equitable if you give an increase of the same amount for everybody for the simple reason that everybody did not put-in the same amount of money into their Social Security account during their working years.

      What would happen then when the Social Security Administration depleted their funds and the possibility of the IRO is gone, bankrupt na rin ang boung Bansa. The politicians that are pushing this issue, like Escudero and Recto will be long retired by then and they could care less. It is election time and these politicians wanted to show that they are working for the people. In reality, they are trying to bankrupt the country. We don’t want that our country will be bankrupt again, like during the Marcos era, where Ferdie goes to another country begging while Imelda goes shopping.

      • Gregorio Del Pilar on

        What about PDAF? Did it bankrupt the country? No. But it would have bankrupt the country if PNoy continues to use the funds to bribe congressmen and senators. The country was not bankrupt when Marcos left his office, there were billions he left in the central bank for the Filipinos. Who knows what Cory did to those funds worth billions. I’m sure she did not use the funds to develop the power industry ecause we experienced blackouts in the entire country during her time. I’m sure she did not use the funds to construct schòol buildings. But I’m sure that those billions left by Marcos were used for private exclusive family interests of the Cojuangco Aquino clans.

    12. Remove the P24B reserved for pork and give it to SSS to be used as “Sovereign Fund” to be invested in blue chip stocks in the international market. Likewise, they can use it as “seed capital” in the purchase and sale of Medium Term Notes (MTNs) that they can always turn around with no less than 2% per turn around – the heart of Private Placement Programs. If they do not know how to do PPPs, they have no business being in the SSS. Bill Gates already made USD72 Billion using a trader for PPP, more than what he gave for philantrophy.

      • Peter Dimafiles on

        Tama ! Why the trillion budget for all and yet can’t even give a token increase for the private sector who contributed much more than those in gov’t? What happened to studies made by your highly paid actuarial scientists that their projections only yielded up to 2029? Somebody in SSS made money using the members contributions.Find that culprit or swap GSIS officials to SSS so they can turn around the funds well.

    13. Majority of the present SSS pensioners belongs to the generation that ousted Pres. Marcos and put an Aquino in power. They are the people behind the so-called “people power” and without them Pnoy would not have the opportunity to become president today.His veto action is a clear demonstration that sya ay walang utang na loob sa mga mamayan na nagpasikat sa mga Aquino.I can not understand why mangungutang ang gobyerno nang bilyones para ipamigay sa mga walang silbe sa bayan through his cash transfer program while he has no emphaty to those who have serve their country will during their productive years. Malulugi daw ang SSS.Thats hogwash.Kong gusto talaga may paraan.

    14. So klarong klaro na talagang retarded ang pangulo ng Pilipinas. Pinagaralan ng kongreso at senado pinagdebatihan at ipinasa ng both house of congress tapos tapos thumbs down lang ang mga pinag aralan ng mga taong mas marunong pa sà bugok na retarded na pangulong. Next time wag sana tayong padala sà simpatiya lang ng namatay na ina tapos gagawin nalng presidente ng ating bansa kahit alam ng nakararami na may sayad yung tao na yan. Now, how can we the people send him to jail after his term of office? Mag plead lang siya ng insanity iwas kulong na siya w/c is true naman na baliw siya.

    15. As the best solution, to protect the majority of SSS members, let the pensioners die one by one. Good luck old people.

    16. I think this President is not only heartless but rightly to be called ” walang kaluluwa ”
      The day of judgement will come.

    17. May pera para sa pansuhol sa mga mambabatas ng tangalin si CJ Corona, at may perang 10 billion para sa pangastos sa 3 araw na APEC conference pero walang pera sa mga retiradong kasapi ng SSS. “LETS VETO ALL PNOY’S CANDIDATE INCLUDING BINAY AND ESCUDERO WHO ARE SHADOW CANDIDATES’ OF THE AQUINOS!!!”.

      • Veto Grace Poe and Duterte as well. They too are PNOYs alternative candidates in case Mar get’s clobbered. The only candidate that can be called clean and uncompromising is Miriam…

    18. Those senators like Marcos who are in favor of a P2000 increase of the SSS pension are all aspiring for a position this coming elections. Notice that these politicians are trying each other to grab every opportunity to include themselves to any controversial news just to mention their names. In other words, Marcos and Poe are not really after the well being of the SSS pensioners but for political purposes. Why don’t Marcos just share the loot through corruption that they got from the government and distribute them to the needy? Why don’t Llamanzares just stop using the name of FPJ to promote her candidacy? She should just use Llamanzares instead of Poe. Let us all pray not to let these hypocrite politicians get elected to their ambitious positions (most especially the pre-school nanny)

      • Wny point your finger at Marcos? For your information, he was the author of the Senate version of the Bill to increase SSS pensions. Its but natural that he should support his own measure, regardless if he is running for a position or not. I bet you’d even do the same. Why not point it at someone else who has no relation to the House & Senate measure but is running for a position. Someone like GRACE POE.

      • Let them grant the 2000 pesos across the board for the sss pensioners then vote the most qualified candidate that you think of for this coming election. Problema ba yun?

      • Gregorio Del Pilar on

        Your brain is as small as your tail hanging inside your pants. We are talking about the welfare of SSS pensioners and you feel that these are just used for political motivations? You’re a big joke! Your mother or father deprived you of all the love in the world so it shows now.

    19. Nanawagan ako sa kapwa ko pensioners ng SSS na huwag iboboto ang buong slate ng Liberal Party sa darating na halalan. Gumanti tayo para malaman nila na marunong tayong magalit. Kung wala silang pagpahalaga sa atin e ipakita natin sa balota kung gaano kasakit ang mawalan ng milyon boto sa Mayo. Lintek lang Walang Ganti Mar Roxas, Leni Robredo at Frank Drillon. Gaganti kami at yan aasahan ninyo.

    20. It is good to preserve the soundness of SSS. When economy is down and people get
      no jobs, then SSS Reserves will be depleted. Bad.

      • Then, SSS should first stop giving very big perks and salaries, with millions in bonuses to their useless executhieves.

        All these and corruptions within SSS management and bad investments were the real cause of bankrupcy.

        All those pensioners, who have contributed while in their prime, deserved even more than P2000 increase. It is their money, our money. Or maybe you’re not a member?