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House eyes ‘zero veto’ of bills in 18th Congress — Romualdez

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The House leadership under Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano will ensure tighter coordination with the Palace and the Senate to avoid even a single presidential veto of bills to be approved by the 18th Congress, according to Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.

“We are eyeing zero veto for all bills to be approved by the Senate and the House. Hopefully, we can avoid any possibility of a Presidential veto by working closely with Cabinet members and Senate officials,” the Leyte lawmaker said.

After a small group meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) on Monday with Congress leaders and Cabinet secretaries at Malacañang, Romualdez said the group agreed to hold a regular monthly meeting to ensure a better shepherding of President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority measures.

“We decided to hold a regular monthly meeting, it just a small group. This would smoothen the process and avoid the unfortunate experiences of having vetoed measures, especially those declared as priority measures by the Executive,” said Romualdez.

“This is an effort to make sure that we have better linkages, synergy and coordination to fast-track, facilitate and harmonize measures, especially those actually spelled out by the President as priority measures,” he said.

“The House leaders will exhaust all means possible to make sure that the executive and the legislative departments are in sync with regard to priority and certified bills filed in the 18th Congress. We do not want to put to waste all the money, time and effort which are normally spent in passing bills,” the Leyte lawmaker added.

In the 17th Congress, President Duterte exercised his veto prerogative on nine bills approved by the Senate and the House including the 2018 General Appropriations Act, the proposed Security of Tenure Law and the bill creating the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund.

“We were informed by Palace officials that the President was not against the approval of most of the bills. The Executive department has issues only with certain provisions which Congress could have accommodated with proper representation and coordination,” Romualdez said.

“This is the reason why we are now adopting best practices from previous Congresses as well as innovative mechanisms to avoid miscommunication between the Palace and Congress,” he said.

“Tighter coordination between the Executive and legislative departments may be the key to avoid any possibility of a Presidential veto,” Romualdez said.

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