THE Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Malacañang, the Senate and the House of Representatives to comment on the two petitions assailing the constitutionality of Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.
High court spokesman Theodore Te said the Court en banc had issued issued a resolution giving the respondents 10 days to submit their comments on the petitions and the applications for a temporary restraining order.
The high court also ordered the consolidation of the second petition filed by Laban Konsyumer Inc. on Monday through its president, former Trade Undersecretary Victor Dimagiba, to the first petition filed by Representatives Antonio Tinio, Carlos Zarate and Ariel Casilao.
Aside from assailing the constitutionality of TRAIN, both petitions are seeking the issuance a temporary restraining order to stop its implementation.
In its petition, Laban Konsyumer Inc. assailed the imposition of excise taxes on petroleum products and coal under the new tax measure, claiming that would further burden the poor families. Rey E. Requejo
"The increase and/or imposition of excise taxes on coal, liquefied petroleum gas, diesel and kerosene are clearly violative of the basic principles and inherent limitations on Philippine taxation," the petitioners said.
The group said the TRAIN Law also violates due process and the equal protection clause as the "exorbitant excise taxes on basic commodities stand to greatly impact and impose heavy financial burden on low-income and poor families.
The petitioners described the TRAIN Law as "enequitable and regressive," insisting that taxation was equitable only when its burden fell on those who could afford to pay.
“If the TRAIN Law is truly the biggest gift of the government to the Filipinos, then by all means, the provisions thereof should muster the test as to its reasonability and propriety particularly in relation to the segment of our society whose voice we have long forgotten―the majority of the Filipinos who have less in life and, incidentally, those who may not fully understand the full extent of the TRAIN Law,” the petition says.
Named respondents in the petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.
TRAIN, which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 19 last year, was the first package of the government’s proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, which is seen to generate additional revenue to finance the country’s investment requirements.
On the other hand, the first petition argued that the TRAIN should be struck down for having been ratified by the House of Representatives and enacted by the President in violation of House Rules and the 1987 Constitution.
The petitioners said the respondents committed grave abuse of discretion when they ratified the final bicameral conference committee report on the night of Dec. 13, 2017, despite the lack of a quorum necessary to vote on its passage.