MANILA — A bill seeking to provide additional benefits for former Philippine presidents has been filed at the House of Representatives.
House Bill 7231, authored by Reps. Divina Grace Yu and Jeyzel Victoria Yu, was referred to the House Committee on the Revision of Laws this week.
The panel is chaired by Manila 4th district Rep. Edward Vera Perez Maceda.
If passed into law, the bill would grant former presidents the following benefits for the remainder of their lives.
- A personal security and protection detail of at least 3 personnel from the Presidential Security group, to be augmented by the Philippine National Police if necessary, with the former president given the right to choose the head of his or her security detail;
- At least 2 personal security personnel for the former president’s immediate family as long as the said chief executive is living;
- Adequate staff from the Office of the President, selected by the former president himself or herself;
- A suitable furnished and equipped office space provided by the Office of the President at any place in the Philippines the former president prefers.
The 2 solons wrote in their explanatory note that the fund for the additional benefits of former presidents would be derived from the annual national budget.
"Former Presidents of the Philippines, to a certain extent, still serve as a representation of the country. As former highest-ranking elected officials of the country, former Presidents are expected to contribute insights on nation building and pressing national issues which may require their expertise,” the explanatory note read.
"Despite the end of their term, they are also expected to perform post presidential duties such as meeting with foreign and local dignitaries, and attending public events and other social engagements. These duties often require them to employ the services of personal staff and maintain private offices, it added.
In an interview on ANC, Rep. Divina Grace Yu said the additional benefits were about “giving honor to former presidents.”
She cited the case of former President Rodrigo Duterte: “Kawawa naman siya, wala naman siyang staff na tutulong sa kanya or security to accompany him.”
“A former president is still a former president. Hindi natin makaila na maraming gustong lumapit [sa kanila],” she added.
As of writing, there are only 3 living former presidents: Joseph Estrada, who served from 1998 to 2001, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who served from 2001 to 2010, and Duterte who served from 2016 to 2022.
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