Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for the veto of a rider in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2021 which prevents the staff of the PAO forensic laboratory from receiving salaries and benefits.
“Maraming salamat po President Rodrigo Roa Duterte sa iyong direct veto Sen. Drilon-Angara insertion,” read her latest Facebook post.
Acosta had accused Senators Franklin Drilon and Sonny Angara for the insertion which states: “Nothing in the appropriation provided in this act shall be used for the salaries or compensation of personnel, travel allowance, meetings and maintenance and other operating expenses of the PAO Forensic Laboratory Division.”
However, Duterte informed the legislative that he has vetoed this insertions among other inappropriate provisions of the GAA “considering such provisions do not relate to particular appropriations in the Budget.”
“The doctrine of ‘inappropriate provision’ enunciates, among others, that ‘when the legislature inserts inappropriate provisions in a general appropriation bill, such provisions must be treated as ‘items’ for purposes of the [Governor’s] item veto power over general appropriations bills’,” read Duterte’s letter dated Dec. 28.
“The same doctrine further clarifies that ‘[l]egislative control cannot be exercised in such a manner as to encumber the general appropriation bill with veto-proof ‘logrolling measures’, special interest provisions which could not succeed if separately enacted, or ‘riders’, substantive pieces of legislation incorporated in a bill to insure passage without veto’,” he added citing a previous Supreme Court (SC) ruling.
Acosta earlier accused the senators of inserting the rider to hamper the PAO’s prosecution of those involved in the vaccination of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia which resulted in the suffering and deaths of vaccinees.
She said Drilon remains to be an associate partner of Angara Abella Concepcion Regalla and Cruz Law Offices (ACCRA) which is the firm representing Dengvaxia maker Sanofi Pasteur.
While, Angara’s father, late former Sen. Edgardo Angara, was a founding partner of ACCRA.