Santo Domingo.- After several hours of debates yesterday, the Chamber of Deputies converted the State Salaries Regulation bill into law, which sets a ceiling on public officials’ wages.
The bill was approved with 99 votes in favor, 6 against and 38 absentions.
This approval represents an acceptance of the Senate’s rejection of the amendment introduced by the Lower Chamber to article 26 of the bill, which established that Congress would be ruled by its internal regulations.
The PRSC’s Ramón Rogelio Genao had suggested sending the proposal to a bicameral commission, but this was rejected by 73 to 69.
Ruddy González, spokesman for the PRD deputies, expressed his opposition to the way it had been approved and proposed sending it to commission.
Deputies Víctor Gómez Casanova, Cristian Paredes, Juan Hubieres and Eugenio Cedeño claimed the bill was unconstitutional and should be sent to a bicameral chamber.
Casanova said that the law violates the right to autonomy of the institutions involved with their own regime and budgetary autonomy.
“We call on president Fernández because we believe this law should be observed before the end of his mandate”, he said.
Nelson Arroyo called on his colleagues to vote for the modifications made by the Senate, “as there is no judicial framework in this country that regulates salaries”.
Chamber of Deputies president Abel Martínez imposed his authority to obtain the votes needed for approving the law, against resistance from deputies of all parties, even the PLD, who accused the senators of “lack of respect” towards the congress members.
Martínez said that the salaries bill had been a concern for all governments.
The deputies who voted against the bill were Guadalupe Valdez, Juan Hubieres, Víctor Gómez Casanova, Ángel Ramírez, Rafael Abreu and Nestor Cruz Pichardo.
According to the new law, the president of the republic will earn a monthly salary of RD$450,000, while the presidents of the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Constitutional Court and the vice president will receive RD$400,000.
The presidents of the Higher Electoral Court and the Central Electoral Board will earn up to RD$375,000 and the president of the Chamber of Accounts will be paid RD$350,000.
Ministers, the Presidential Legal Adviser and the Comptroller General will get RD$300,000 per month, and the Public Defender’s wage is RD$250,000.
The bill, which now goes to the Executive Branch for approval, limits the use of government credit cards to the president and vice president, the heads of the legislative chambers, the Supreme Court and entities and organs of a constitutional nature.