Palace: Duterte vetoed measure aiming to strengthen PCA hoping for “more safeguards to protect” taxpayers’ money, coco levy funds from corruption

2 weeks ago
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(Eagle News)—President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the measure that aims to strengthen the Philippine Coconut Authority, among others, because there were some provisions that could allow for corruption.

This is according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who issued a statement on Sunday, Feb. 10, days after Duterte vetoed the reconciled version of Senate Bill 1976 and House Bill 8522, or  An Act to Further Strengthen the (PCA).

In the first place, Panelo said the proposal for a P10-billion yearly appropriation of an industry without the approval of the executive branch is “susceptible to corruption akin to creating pork barrel funds.”

He said there was also the issue of the measure’s inclusion of the functions in sale, disposition, or dissolution of coco levy assets but “without checks and balances,” a  “condition” he said “will diminish the ability of the Department of Justice, through the Office of the Solicitor-General in coordination with the Presidential Commission on Good Government to act on cases relating to coco levy assets.”

As for the measure’s proposal for  a 15-member PCA Board that includes seven members from the private sector, Panelo said this would enable private persons to influence the disbursement of public funds.

“Finally, (because) the PCA is set up like the Road Board which is heavily criticized for allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds,” he said.

According to Panelo, the veto by Duterte of the legislative measure is a “reflection of the principled stand of this administration in promoting good governance and public accountability.”

He expressed “thought and confidence  that the lawmakers can re-craft one that will provide more safeguards to protect the taxpayers’ money and shield the levy funds from irregular and unlawful use, as well as guarantee its proper management.”

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