By Genalyn Kabiling
President Rodrigo Duterte has obtained the support of lawmakers for the passage of the administration’s priority measures during a meeting in Malacañang on Monday, November 14.
The president met several senators and congressmen for a “mini” Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) assembly to tackle his legislative agenda as well as his war on illegal drugs.
“The meeting last (Monday) night with members of the upper and lower house was the president’s way of keeping in touch with the third branch of government, the independent legislature,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
“It was not a LEDAC Meeting per se, although they did discuss legislation and the representatives expressed general support of the chief executive’s legislative agenda,” he added.
Topping President Duterte’s legislative agenda, according to Pimentel, is the income tax reform, whose component is reduced income tax payment but complemented with a counter-measure to make up for the anticipated revenue loss.
Also mentioned during the meeting were:
- proposal to abolish the graft-tainted Road Board
- amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA)
- proposed emergency powers Congress would give the president to solve the traffic crisis hitting Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities
Senate president Koko Pimentel shared the president showed them the list of government officials and employees, including congressmen, governors and mayors, involved in the multi-billion-peso illegal drug trade.
“Pinakita niya sa amin na—and this consumed a lot of time—iyong enormity of the drug problem because he showed to us the thick dossier or reports he has in his possession,” Pimentel said in an ambush interview. “Maybe six inches thick iyon of names of government—wala pa doon iyong outside of government—personalities involved in drugs.”
Presidential legislative liaison adviser Adelino Sitoy said they agreed the LEDAC executive committee would convene a meeting on December 5 to further tackle the legislative agenda. The list of priority bills will be submitted between now and December 5, he added.
Present in the meeting were senators Manny Paquiao, Tito Sotto, Miguel Zubiri, Ralph Recto, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Alan Peter Cayetano, Cynthia Villar and Sonny Angara. The House delegation was led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Last September, the president and his Cabinet discussed 15 priority bills that will be proposed to Congress, which include the following:
- revival of the death penalty
- rightsizing of the bureaucracy
- creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development
- budget reform
- reduced personal and corporate income tax
- higher taxes on fuel and sugary products
- adjustment in sin taxes