MANILA The Senate has maintained its position that there is no need for a bicameral conference committee on the bill abolishing the Road Board, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Monday.
He said this was the general sentiment among senators following an all-member caucus.
Sotto, however, noted that Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri was tasked to meet with House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. to discuss the matter either today or tomorrow.
"At the moment, we still stand on the issue that it has been adopted, so whatever the outcome of the talks between the two majority leaders, we will take it up again and most probably that will have to be tomorrow," Sotto said in an interview.
Sotto raised the possibility of a "paper bicam" if both chambers agree to a set of amendments.
Zubiri, in a separate interview, said he will meet with his House counterpart to discuss the parameters in the amendments if a bicam will be convened.
Among the parameters include the abolition of the Road Board and the inclusion of the proceeds from the motor vehicle user's charge (MVUC) as a line-item in the national budget.
"We will reconsider the third reading approval of the Senate and reconvene a bicam if we agree on the parameters. (We have) very simple amendments: that the Road Board be abolished and secondly, that the funds be reverted to the National Treasury para magamit ng gobyerno (so the government can utilize it) for whatever purpose necessary," Zubiri said.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the proposal for the convening of the bicam on the abolition of the Road Board would mean that the Senate has to withdraw its adoption of the House version.
He noted that since the Senate already adopted the House version, there are no more disagreeing provisions so the bicam can be dispensed with.
"Our problem is if we convene in a bicam the preliminary step to take is to rescind our previous position that we have adopted the House version," Drilon said.
President Duterte repeatedly called for the abolition of the Road Board, tagging it as a "milking cow" for corruption.
He said wants to divert the road user's tax funds of the body to flood control projects. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency