FILE PHOTO: Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press briefing on Tuesday (December 18) said President Rodrigo Duterte is likely to sign the bill abolishing the Road Board “as soon as it is given to him.”
Panelo said he believes the President would do so since he, the President, is against the release of the P45 billion pesos road users’ tax due to issues of corruption.
“Yes, that’s what is needed. We want that the fund be returned to the treasury and then let the Congress appropriate again for specific purpose,” Panelo said in a palace briefing.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Senate’s position on the bill remains as the senators strongly believe that the road user’s tax has become a huge source of corruption among lawmakers.
“It’s good as abolished dahil hindi na iri-release ng executive department ang funding noon. Ngayon kung ipipilit pa rin nila, perhaps somebody should bring it to the proper venue, kung courts ang kailangan dito para ma-resolve iyan,” Sotto explained.
The Senate passed and adopted in September the House version of a bill abolishing the Road Board filed by former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez due to anomalies over the use of motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC).
But the Lower House through House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. later on filed a motion to rescind the approval of the said bill leaving it hanging in a balance.
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, meanwhile, argued that abolishing the Road Board would affect the funding of several government services.
“Kapag tinanggal ang Road Boardm mawawala ang dedicated fund to address pollution at safety,” Suarez concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Bernard Dadis)