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Consumer group questions legality of TRAIN law before Supreme Court

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The tax reform law is “unconstitutional”.

This is the reason given by a consumer group that filed a petition before the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the said law.

In a 43-page petition, the Laban Konsyumer Incorporated appealed to the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the TRAIN law.

Laban Konsyumer president, Vic Dimagiba said that some provisions in the Constitution were violated by the TRAIN law itself and this will result in more sufferings for many Filipinos.

Dimagiba added that the reform in the income tax does not make sense because with it is the increase in excise tax on petroleum products.

And with the increase in prices of oil products is the rise in prices of basic commodities, jeepney fare and more.

“Hindi po balance. Hindi po equity. Hindi equitable ang trato sa mga low income at poor families (It’s not balanced. The treatment of low income and poor families is not equitable),” said the advocate.

Dimagiba hopes that the Supreme Court justices will carefully study their petition.

Meanwhile, one economist agrees with the argument of the consumer group.

According to economist, Ranilo Balbieran, the government must not impose higher taxes on oil products.

“Hindi sana gaano’ng kataas yung tax sa petrolyo kasi lahat tayo apektado halos lahat ng ginagawa natin dito sa mundo parang may langis. Yung iba naman sana mas mataas yung tax gaya nung sa tobacco sa sigarilyo. Hindi naman talaga yan kailangan sa buhay,” said Balbieran.

On the other hand, Balbieran believes that the TRAIN law will have a good effect on the economy in the long run.

Balbieran sees that the country has shifted from a consumption-driven to an investment-driven economy.

This means that the administration is looking ahead to the future by investing in infrastructures for the benefit of all Filipinos and generations to come.

The consumer group, on the other hand, calls on the public to be watchful of the current administration to ensure that the funds raised by the tax reform will be spent on rightful projects. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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Consultative committee to start job in February

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The consultative committee is preparing for the review of the 1987 Constitution.

President Rodrigo Duterte has earlier appointed its 19 members who will be headed by retired Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Puno.

“Second week of February, after we take our oath of office before the president tentatively set on Feb. 13. Meantime, we are doing all preparatory, organizational work,” said Puno in a text message.

The former chief justice said they will immediately convene after the group takes its oath before President Duterte in the second week of February.

Some of the members of the committee are former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., former Supreme Court associate justices Antonio Nachura and Bienvenido Reyes.

In December 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte released Executive Order 10 that ordered the creation of a consultative committee that will conduct consultations and review the provisions of the Constitution concerning the structure and power of the government, local governance, and economic policies.

The committee is given six months to submit a report, recommendation, and proposal to the president.

The president said the Constitution should be amended to be able to give way to the federal form of government.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said they are ready to adopt the recommendation of the consultative committee even if they are now conducting a hearing on charter change.

“Source material din yun, reference material din po yung output nila yung transcript ng kanilang discussion. This can help us,” Pimentel said.

Meanwhile, the PDP-Laban Federalism Institute launches a book that contains the version of federalism that they are campaigning. The book will be among the material data that will be endorsed to the committee. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacañang insists no deadlock in placing Odo Carandang under preventive suspension

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is the chief implementor of the law.

This is the stand of Malacañang when the president placed Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang under preventive suspension.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has earlier questioned this decision based on the Supreme Court (SC) ruling in the case of Gonzales versus the Office of the President in 2014.

The Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the provision in the ombudsman law granting the president disciplinary jurisdiction over a deputy ombudsman.

Such provision is a violation of the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said that they do not need to consult with the lawmakers on this seeming impasse between the ombudsman and the Office of the President.

“There is no impasse. The president is the chief implementor of the law and he will enforce the law,” said the presidential spokesperson.

Roque added that during the administration of former President Noynoy Aquino, some deputy ombudsmen were dismissed.

“It was actually President Aquino who removed, not one, not two but I think three deputy ombudsmen, so let’s just say to the opposition, that they have the same view that the president has the power to discipline all unimpeachable officials,” said the presidential spokesperson.

Malacañang said the Duterte administration is not threatened with the statement of Senator Antonio Trillanes that the action against Carandang is an impeachable offense.

Roque said Carandang has 10 days to answer the complaints filed against him, and if not, the Office of the President will decide on the matter.

Carandang can also question his preventive suspension through a court.

“That’s the call of Deputy Ombudsman Carandang. If he feels that the president’s order assuming jurisdiction to discipline him is wrong, let him go to court but we will implement the law. There cannot be an impasse. There is only one sitting president in this country, and he will implement the law,” said Roque.

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SolGen Calida appeals for OSG strengthening to fast-track resolution of pending cases

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Six proposed bills are filed in the Senate that seek for the amendment of the charter of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

These include the proposal to add more division that will handle the agency’s pending cases which the SolGen is pushing to get Senate support.

“The mammoth task of representing the entirety of the government will be addressed by the creation of additional 20 divisions to perform the functions of the OGCC and the PCGG,” Calida said.

The OSG’s primary mandate is to represent the government and its officials, government line and attached agencies, and government-owned and controlled corporations in Supreme Court (SC) and Court of Appeals (CA) in all criminal proceedings.

The SolGen, by the instruction of the President, may represent the Republic of the Philippines in international litigations, conferences, and negotiations where legal position of the country is needed.

For some senators, there are provisions in the current charter of the OSG that should be reviewed on the possibility of a conflict of interest.

“When he acts both as counsel of government nine agencies and now as counsel of government corporations,” said Sen. Franklin Drilon.

Currently, there are more than 700,000 cases in the OSG handled only by 268 lawyers of the agency. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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