MANILA — Malacañang on Wednesday denied that President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. went on a supposed "veto spree" when he thumbed down several measures, including proposed tax breaks for election workers.
Marcos, who took office a little over a month ago, vetoed 5 bills so far while 41 other measures lapsed into law, said Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.
"Hindi po nagkaroon ng veto spree ang ating Pangulo... Tinutono lang naman ng Pangulo doon sa mga sistema iyong mga batas natin, lalung-lalo na iyong mga batas that involved some kind of tax break or tax benefits, itutono mo doon sa ating polisiya of tax reform," she said.
(Our President is not in a veto spree. He is just attuning our laws to the system, especially laws that involved some kind of tax break or tax benefits. These should be attuned to our tax reform policies.)
Video from PTV
TAX PERKS FOR POLL WORKERS
Marcos vetoed the measure that sought income tax exemption on the allowances, honoraria, and other cash benefits of poll workers "as a matter of good housekeeping," said Cruz-Angeles.
"Ang ating tax system, hindi ba nireporma natin ito? ...Tinanggal natin yung mga benepisyo, mga exemptions na binibigay to various groups. Sa dami dati na binibigyan ng ganon, medyo magulo na ang sistema, hindi natin alam kung sino ang nagbe-benefit dito at kung makatarungan nga," Cruz-Angeles said.
"Pero yung ganitong mga proposal ay binabalik lang sa dating sistema na marami na naman tayong exemptions o benepisyo na binibigay na nakaka-cause ng confusion sa ating sistema," she continued.
(We reformed our tax system, right? We removed the benefits, exemptions given to various groups. Because there were so many of these perks, our system was messy, we did not know who benefitted and if these were fair. Proposals like this will only bring back the old system where we have so many exemptions or benefits that create confusion.)
The government will give "some form of assistance" to poll workers instead of the tax break, said Cruz-Angeles.
"That way, maayos ang sistema ng pangongolekta natin ng buwis, pero matutulungan pa rin natin sila," said the Palace official.
(That way, our system of collecting taxes is streamlined, yet we are still helping them.)
Marcos' vetoed bills included proposals to create a transport safety board and the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone, give the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) more powers, and expand the coverage area of the Davao Light and Power Company.
List of measures that lapsed into law or were vetoed. Malacañang
Meanwhile, measures that lapsed into law included the controversial vape bill and a measure that increased the monthly pension of indigent senior citizens.
WHAT SENATORS SAY
Sen. Imee Marcos called on her fellow lawmakers and Malacañang to immediately meet to iron out their legislative agenda.
"Noon pa ako nagpapatawag ng LEDAC (Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council) meeting nang ma-veto ang Bulacan Ecozone [bill], pero walang nangyaring pulong," Marcos said in a statement.
(I have called for a LEDAC meeting ever since the Bulacan Ecozone was vetoed, but no meeting happened.)
The LEDAC serves as a "consultative and advisory body to the President, Chair of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, on certain programs and policies essential to the realization of the goals of the national economy."
The council is composed of 20 members with the President as chair and the following as members:
• Vice President
• Senate President
• House Speaker of the House of Representatives
• 7 members of the Cabinet designated by the President
• 3 members of the Senate designated by the Senate President
• 3 members of the House of Representatives designated by the Speaker
• 1 representative of the Local Government Units
• 1 representative from the youth sector
• 1 representative from the private Sector
Sen. Chiz Escudero meanwhile called on Marcos to immediately appoint a “high-caliber Cabinet member” to head the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office to avert a supposed veto spree.