Busted: Ormoc City mayor Richard Gomez said Duterte signed Centenarian Law! Nope, it was Aquino who did

In an Instagram post on May 10, Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez claimed that it was President Rodrigo Duterte who signed the Centenarian Act into law a few months ago.
“The first centenarian in Ormoc City to receive their benefit of 100 thousand pesos. This is the Centenarian Act signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte a few months ago. #lipaysilolasaiyangnadawatnakwarta #getormocmovingagain,” Gomez wrote.

Leyte Mayor Richard Gomez

His Instagram post was then picked up by the Facebook page “Duterte’s People,” whose post even went viral, gaining over 39,000 shares and 16,000 reactions.

“WOW! Napakagandang balita po lalo na sa mga Lola/Lolo po natin na nasa edad 100 pataas dahil bibigyan sila ng P100,000 ng Gobyerno.Pakikalat po ang balitang ito sa pamamagitan ng pag #SHARE ng video na ito kabayan…” the page wrote.
“Centenarians Act is a law honors and provides incentives, including a P100,000 cash gift, for Filipino centenarians.. This is the Centenarian Act signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte a few months ago,” Duterte’s People added.

Leyte Mayor Richard Gomez

However, Gomez was mistaken in saying that it was Duterte who signed the Centenarian Act into law. Former President Benigno Aquino III actually signed the bill on June 23, 2016, a week before his term ended on June 30, 2016.

You can check the copy of the signed act here.

Aquino first rejected the bill in 2013, but it was because it contained a provision seeking to increase to 75% the discount on products and services to centenarians. His veto message said that this rate “exceeds the usual mark-up rate of most businesses and will obliterate profit margins and result in capital loss.”

In 2016, the Palace said that Aquino approved the law because the said provision was already removed.

On June 27, 2016, Lagman welcomed Aquino’s decision.

“Just in the nick of time! I must say it was really a long wait but it was well worth the wait,” Lagman said.

“In behalf of all the co-authors of the Centenarians Act, I would like to thank our President for giving it the green light at last. We are all happy that we are bidding the 16th Congress with a law that sends the message that we are a government that cares for its citizens,” he added.

The Centenarian Act of 2016 grants Filipinos, both in the country and abroad, who reach the ripe old age of 100 years old with rewards and incentives, including P100,000 in cash and a letter of felicitation from the President himself. The centenarians will also be given a plaque of recognition and more cash gift from their respective local government during the National Respect for Centenarians Day on every first Sunday of October.

What was signed during the Duterte administration was the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Centenarian Act of 2016, or Republic Act No. 10868.

The IRR was approved by DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, and then-DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno on September 26, with President Duterte witnessing the event.

Rep. Edcel Lagman was the principal author of the first Centenarian Bill filed in the 15th Congress (2010-2013) that was vetoed by Aquino. The bill was re-filed by his son, former Rep. Edcel “Grex” Lagman in the 16th Congress (2013-2016) and was enacted by Aquino.

The law was sponsored at the Senate by Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.

Inquirer’s mistake

While searching for news stories relevant to the Centenarian Law, we stumbled upon an Inquirer report, “Centenarians to get P100k, incentives; IRR signed,” published on October 10, 2016. We found the report’s concluding sentence to be erroneous as it cited Duterte as the President who signed the bill into law.

Leyte Mayor Richard Gomez

Sources: ( , , )

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