False claims

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As evidence of complicity in a number of anomalous transactions spanning different Cabinet portfolios mounts together with revelations of a cowardly betrayal of heroic policemen – first led to a slaughter and then subsequently abandoned to die – this traditional politico now seeks higher ground if only to forestall the inevitable criminal charges being readied against him.

Thinking the Senate as a safe haven that might protect him from the law and prison, he is willing to spend millions to re-enter what putschists have degraded into a legislative hideaway.

Others had done it before, why shouldn’t he escape to his own Witch Mountain now? A two-time coup plotter had paved the path before, going as far as cloaking himself with the immunities the institution provided and hiding in holes rats burrow behind.

Never mind that a resurgent bid to escape criminal charges might cost millions, especially important now since his being repeatedly rejected before thus establishing himself a perennial born loser. Money was never a problem. Mommy is rich.

Note the slick and expensive premature campaigning TV ads now peppering the airwaves virtually singing songs of praise to three claims he imagines might usher him back to a Senate seat safely out of the law’s reach. Constantly repeated on prime time TV they purport claims of his competence as an economist.

His chosen spin and concocted persona are as understandable as they are profoundly pathetic. Against a litany of administrative incompetence and ineptitude in every portfolio assigned to him, the imagery his television ads foisted on a discerning public falls flat and fails to convince as the public is not as gullible as he imagines them to be.

Where the public remembers his co-authorship of the Value Added Tax law and his vigorous drive to raise the VAT even higher; and the fact that he refused to increase the bracket of exemptions for minimum wage earners (MWE) so that they might have slightly higher effective pay, any claim of economic competence in his ads now seems incredulous.
Lies are exposed by truth. So are false claims.

One claim constantly repeated is his Senate authorship of a law granting income tax exemptions to MWE. Allow us to cite facts, not from press releases nor news reports, but from official documents.

All tax laws emanate from the House of Representatives, not the Senate. Senate tax proposals are concurring counterparts at best. Article VI Section 24 of the Constitution states: “All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.”

Republic Act (RA) 9504 amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1997 and provides that “minimum wage earners as defined in Section 22 (HH) of (RA 8424) shall be exempt from the payment of income tax on their taxable income.”

RA 9504 originated in the House of Representatives as House Bill (HB) 3971. It was sponsored by the House Committee on Ways and Means per committee report no. 451.
At the Senate, several bills were proposed as either counterparts to HB 3971 or as concurrences. Two were authored by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. These were Senate Bill 125 granting tax exemptions to private and government minimum wage earners and SB 126 on increasing tax exemptions.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Enrile’s SB 125 was specifically crafted to exempt from taxes. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada likewise created SB 448 on exemptions substantially reducing taxes. Manuel Roxas submitted SB 103 whose title focused on “tax relief.”

All these proposals were skillfully consolidated by Senate Ways and Means chairman Sen. Francis Escudero under committee report No. 53, which Escudero would later shepherd, sponsor and see passed on the floor as SB 2293.

Notwithstanding the insidious credit-grabbing of political leeches, SB 2293 closely echoed Enrile’s apt verbiage. Following Escudero’s SB 2293, RA 9504 was signed into law.

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