Manifestation of the no vote of Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
On Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 14
Recalling the enrolled copies of Senate Bill No. 1233/House Bill No. 5745, entitled “An Act Creating the Coconut Farmers’ and Industry Trust Fund Providing for its Management and Utilization and for Other Purposes”
“Mr. President, we voted no to the concurrent resolution.
Mr. President, this representation is the principal sponsor of the measure. We defended it on the floor for nearly two years, after which it was passed on third reading. We relinquished the stewardship of the measure to the new chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, who went on to proceed with the bicameral conference debates as well as the report.
I participated in the bicameral conference committee, again marshalled the measure and defend the provisions which I felt were necessary.
In other words, Mr. President, we completed the process. And then we are informed that some Cabinet members disagree with some of the provisions. And of course the House agreed in a concurrent resolution and the chairmen of both Houses, chairpersons of the Committee on Agriculture of both Houses, likewise agreed.
Mr. President, the reason why it is my humble opinion, Mr. President, the reason why that particular precedent in 1946 has not been invoked in the last 72 years is precisely because it is a bad precedent. And we are reiterating that bad precedent, Mr. President, by voting in favor of this concurrent resolution.
It is a bad precedent because what would stop another Cabinet member to whisper to whoever and tell us here that the bill that we passed on third reading and the enrolled bill that we have forwarded to Malacañang has certain questionable provisions.
Mr. President, it was also discussed earlier that the PCA Board may be reconstituted during the bicam. We defended that measure, Mr. President, that allowed for a majority of the farmers’ representatives to sit in the PCA Board because we felt that was the just thing to do after the unjustness of the exaction of taxes or levies on the meager earnings of our farmers. That formed precisely the amounts that we have today in terms of the coco levy fund, 75 to almost 100 billion if we include the assets. Representation of the farmers or a majority representation of the farmers appointed by the President, Mr. President, we believe, is the heart of the coco levy trust fund measure. You dilute their participation on their membership in the committee, Mr. President, and I believe that is another injustice for these farmers and that is one of my concerns. And for that, Mr. President, I vote no the concurrent resolution.
Thank you, Mr. President.”