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Pimentel questions House withdrawal of support to Road Board abolition

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By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III questioned the House of Representatives’ move withdrawing its approved bill of the abolition of the graft-ridden Road Board.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (Senate of the Philippines / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III
(Senate of the Philippines / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Pimentel, in a statement on Thursday, protested the congressmen’s decision to recall the final reading passage of the House Bill 7436, which seeks the abolition of the Road Board, an agency repeatedly flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA).

He said the Lower House’s revocation of the measure was “legally questionable.”

“The Lower House cannot just inform us later that they changed their minds and tell us the House version has ceased to exist anymore. The Senate actually made adjustments and approved their version already because we wanted immediate passage of a law addressing the Road Board,” Pimentel said.

The House of Representatives last September 12 voted to recant the approval on final reading of HB 7436 following a manifestation by Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.

This was shortly after the Senate decided to adopt the House Bill and replace Senate Bill 1620, so there would be no need for a bicameral conference between the two Congress chambers.

While saying that it is up to President Duterte to resolve the matter — since he is supportive of the abolition of Road Board — Pimentel urged his fellow lawmakers to make an “urgent and immediate follow through” on the measure.

Pimentel reminded that the Road Board’s abolition would be a major step in curbing corruption and properly managing the government’s financial resources earmarked for infrastructure.

“What we continue to have instead is an agency ridden with corruption and inefficiency. COA flagged the Board for such ills in its scathing 2017 report, precisely the reason why we sped up the measure to legislate the Board’s necessary demise,” he said.

“Let’s not be sidetracked and distracted. The signing of a law abolishing the Road Board should remain a priority,” he appealed.

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