Instead of threatening Congress with a possible veto of a watered-down tax reform measure, the Department of Finance should instead work with the Senate and the House of Representatives in coming up with a version that will benefit the people, senators said Tuesday.
In a statement, Senate ways and means committee chairman Sonny Angara said the DoF’s strategy should be to “engage lawmakers positively.”
“It’s a bit early for that considering the Senate committee has yet to come up with a final version,” said Angara.
He noted that it is best to engage lawmakers positively because he believes that a majority of lawmakers wish to help the President in this regard.
“We note that the administration has a number of remaining reform packages it wishes to push, and a good working relationship with the legislators would be key going forward,” he added.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto told the DoF that it “does not have a monopoly” of knowing what is right for the country.
“It’s always better to work with both the House and Senate than to threaten Congress with a veto. The Finance department does not have a monopoly on what is good for the country,” Recto said.
“I’s never easy to pass tax laws. The representatives of the people are more sensitive to people’s concerns,” he added.
Senator Chiz Escudero said if consolidated—which means that the increase in tax exemptions and increase in taxes are in one bill—President Rodrigo Duterte cannot do a line item veto.
Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said one of the options for the DoF is to propose to the President to veto the proposed first package of the comprehensive tax reform if Congress passes a watered-down version.
The proposed first package of the tax reform measure aims to lower income taxes while limiting value-added tax exemptions, adjusting excise taxes on oil and automobiles, and imposing new taxes on sugar- sweetened beverages.
The House-approved Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion bill is already being discussed in the Senate ways and means committee. Angara said he intends to come up with a committee report by mid-September.