House: TRAIN unstoppable; opposition ‘wasting time’
A petition challenging the legality of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law before the Supreme Court was a futile exercise, House Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro of Capiz said on Sunday.
The petitioners—members of the Makabayan bloc in Congress, along with National Union of People’s Lawyers—made a “flimsy” argument, Castro said.
The lawmakers urged the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order stopping the law’s implementation, saying House leaders committed grave abuse of discretion for ratifying the bicameral conference committee report for TRAIN “despite glaring lack of quorum.”
Castro said that there was a presumption of regularity since the quorum during the session day being questioned had been declared, and that the “quorum is continuing until after that the quorum is declared inexistent.”
“Roll call and quorum was declared,” he told a radio interview over dzBB.
“There is always a presumption of regularity in the exercise of official function. Unless, however, that you present a contrary evidence. Then that will only be the time that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official function can be overcome,” he said.
He said the petitioners—Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. Antonio Tiñio, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, together with the NUPL counsel, have the burden of proof to substantiate their allegations.
“They could not just run and shout and say there is no quorum. Let us consult the minutes of the proceedings and that will be determinative of whether or not there was quorum,” he added.
On Dec. 19 last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law package 1A of the TRAIN law under Republic Act No. 10963 for its Jan. 1, 2018 implementation.