Senate, Palace settle issue on Sin Tax bill

October 17, 2012 11:07 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Oct. 17 – The Senate and Malacanang finally settled on Wednesday an issue that marred the controversial Sin Tax bill when Presidential Legislative Liaison Officer head Manuel Mamba reportedly insinuated that resigned Senate committee on ways and means Ralph Recto received lobby money.

In an executive session attended by senators and Secretaries Enrique Ona of Health, Cesar Purisima of Finance and Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares, Mamba claimed he was accusing Recto of receiving lobby money.

Senator Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan told the media after the meeting that Mamba said there was misinterpretation in the media report which quoted the PLLO chief for saying “Anyone who would not support this very popular measure is subject to suspicion that he has received lobby money or that he was bribed by the lobby groups of big multinationals.”

”In my understanding, Mamba was asking for apology on the issue,” Honasan said.

Amid criticisms on his committee report, Recto resigned last Monday as chairman of the committee on ways and means and recommended the withdrawal of his own version Senate Bill 3299.

Recto’s report showed the tax measure targets tax collection of P15 to P20 billion from alcohol and cigarette products for the first year of the implementation of the measure.

Based on the original version submitted by the Department of Finance, the target tax collection in the first year of implementation is P60 billion both from alcohol and cigarette products.

Senator Franklin Drilon, who has been designated as acting chairman, announced his intention to adopt Recto’s committee report to hasten the passage of the bill.

Recto opposed Drilon’s plan, insisting that the Senate should instead adopt the Senate version filed by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago or the House Bill 5727 which trimmed down the target collection to P31 billion, including P27 billion from the cigarette products.

Recto is willing to sign a different committee report even if it would recommend P60 billion revenue collection target. (PNA)

RMA/JFM

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