PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday dared his critics to prove him wrong in vetoing the bill that would have granted two million Social Security System (SSS) pensioners an extra P2,000 a month, stressing that his decision was based on actual facts.
In an interview with the media in Bulacan province, the President said he was thrust to a situation where he had to choose between “earning brownie points that would help his political endorsements” and the “welfare of 30 million SSS members” and decided to go for the latter.
“Tama ba ‘yon na dadalhin ko ang taumbayan sa direksyon na magiging kapahamakan nila. Sana, ano, tingnan po ninyo ‘yung tiningnan kong datos at sabihin ninyo kung mali ‘yung aking reasoning dito. Kung mali, bakit ‘di ko babaguhin ‘yung kilos ko? (Is it right to lead the people to their perdition? I hope you would also look at the data and tell me if I was wrong in my decision. If I am wrong, I can changemy decision),” Aquino said.
“Pero kung tama naman po, huwag tayong mag-isip ‘nung pakinabang natin ngayon na katumbas ng problema natin bukas,” he stressed.
The President also doused speculations that his decision will lead to a political backlash on administration party candidates, stressing that he could not sacrifice the welfare of all SSS members for the sake of its pensioners.
“Parang mas mali namang magalit sa akin ‘yung doon sa kabuuan ng 30 milyones na ‘yon kaysa itong two million na ito. So sana tingnan lang natin ano ba ‘yung facts (It would be a bigger wrong if the 30 million members will get mad because we gave more consideration to the two million),” he pointed out.
On allegations that he was “heartless” in vetoing the bill, Aquino noted that there are other existing government mechanisms that the pensioners can avail of, such as assistance from the Department of Health and PhilHealth.
He maintained that approving the measure would bleed the coffers of the SSS since the increase would be tantamount to an additional P56 billion, an amount far greater than the expected income of the agency.
Aquino likened himself to a “father of the house” who cannot risk losing the entire family savings on one single transaction.