Congress heeds Duterte's call to abolish Road Board

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2019 01:19 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2019 10:25 PM

Senate Majority leader Miguel Zubiri, and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto meet with House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. to discuss the abolition of the Road Board on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2018. Photo courtesy of Senator Miguel Zubiri

MANILA- (UPDATE) Congressional leaders have acceded to President Rodrigo Duterte’s wish to abolish the graft-ridden Road Board.

The development comes a day after Senate Majority leader Miguel Zubiri, and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto met with House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. over the issue.

”Common sense and real reform are winners in the agreement to genuinely abolish the Road Board,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement Wednesday.

The Road Board oversees funds from the Motor Vehicle User's Charge, which are supposed to be used exclusively for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of traffic lights and road safety devices, and air pollution control.

The Commission on Audit however has said the MVUCs were being misappropriated, making it vulnerable to corruption.

Duterte had repeatedly said he wanted the Road Board abolished.

Andaya claimed that the House-Senate consensus spared the President from signing a defective bill, which he said some "powerful interests" wanted him to.

"The attempt to hoodwink the President has been foiled. We are glad that, finally, a bill which will genuinely abolish the Road Board, and treat MVUC collections as part of the General Fund, under the one fund concept, is now on the way to the President,” he said.

Andaya said the House leadership recently discovered that the bill was erroneously referred to the Committee on Government Reorganization when it should have been considered as a tax measure under the Ways and Means Committee. 

A revised bill abolishing the Road Board will be transmitted by the House of Representatives to the Senate on Monday, Andaya added.

Andaya earlier claimed that the President had agreed that the Road Board should stay during a dinner sometime in September. 

This was however belied by Malacañang and Duterte himself.