Close Senate vote on ‘sin tax’ bill raises Palace eyebrows


Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Malacañang on Wednesday expressed surprise at the close Senate vote on the “sin tax” bill, even issuing a warning to reelectionist senators that the electorate will remember how they voted in next May’s elections.

The senators voted 10 to 9 last Tuesday to ratify the bicameral conference committee report on the reformed sin tax bill that is projected to generate some P248.49 billion over the next five years. President Aquino is expected to sign the measure next week.

“It was unusual and therefore a surprise. Normally, the ratification of a bicameral conference committee report is just a formality,” said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

But presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda raised the possibility that the way the senators voted could become a factor in the elections.

“It’s up to the voters. I’m sure the people, especially the health advocates, will remember those who voted for this important bill,” he said.

How they voted


Sen. Franklin Drilon, Edgardo Angara, Pia Cayetano, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Panfilo Lacson, Lito Lapid, Sergio Osmeña III, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV voted to ratify.

Those who voted against the measure were Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, with Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Ralph Recto, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan, Joker Arroyo, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Vicente Sotto III.

Absent during the voting were Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Teofisto Guingona III and Manuel Villar.

Escudero, Cayetano, Legarda, Pimentel, Trillanes and Villar’s wife, Cynthia, are all running for senator under the ruling Liberal Party-led coalition. Escudero and Legarda are also “guest candidates” of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.

Abad, a senior LP leader, declined to comment when asked whether the President may still find it worthwhile to support reelectionist senators who voted against the sin tax measure or were absent during the vote.

Close call


“That is not for me to express an opinion on. I will leave that for the President to consider,” he said.

Strategic Communication Secretary Ricky Carandang said the close vote was “a sign of how strong opposition to the sin tax bill was.”

“That also explains why it took so long to pass the measure which had been pending in one form or another for many years,” he said.

Lacierda said Malacañang was simply happy that the bill passed.

“At the end of the day, what’s more important is that it was passed…It was a close call but we’re very happy with the vote,” he said.

The House of Representatives also ratified the bicam report last Tuesday.

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  • Guest

    Sa bill na ito, di binigyan nina Drilon and his gang ng protection ang mga workers. Kawawa ang manggagawa. Lintik lang ang walang ganti!

  • T_O_S_H_I_O

    In favor ako sa Sin tax law since makakatulong talaga ito sa health ng bayan natin. :) Nagtataka lang ako bakit may mga against pa dito. Di ko iboboto mga yan pagtumakbo sila

    • Rose

      Same here. Vote ko sila pag may ginawa silang maganda na iba but for now, pass muna ako.

    • rem_rod

       Madaling sabihin yan kase hindi tayo apektado. Smoking is a choice just like eating ice cream and soda that causes diabetes. Do you know that there are more people afflicted with Diabesity than smoking? i wonder why this is not being addressed. For me Health care should address the most prevailing issues confronting the welfare of the people. To me the sin tax is pure hypocrisy on the part of the government. When will be the tipping point between taxing sin products and the reduced consumption of them. Remember if the government succeeded in their objective of reducing consumption of these products, the health fund will definitely shrink, if it continues at this level, where are they going to get funding? What happens to the allocation for the displaced farmers? Where is the fund for their introduction to new crops? These farmers have been planting tobacco all their lives.

      • ed_nique

        because they know that the smokers will continue to smoke even if the price of cigarettes go up … they can always buy 1 or 2 sticks from the sidewalk vendors and sari2 stores. the government’s claim that this is to make the smokers quit is only secondary, it really is a money making venture. in fact they already factored in the amount in their budgeted income for fy 2013, that’s why they were mad at recto because he presented a lower projected income.

  • Guest

    I’m sure, Drilon and company will receive big bonus from their sponsors after the ratification of sin tax bill. Magkano kaya?

  • Guest

    Eto mga bumoto ng yes para mataas na sin tax: Angara, Pia Cayetano, Santiago, Drilon, Lacson, Lapid, Osmena, Pangilinan, Pimentel at Trillanes.

  • Mae

    Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, with Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Ralph Recto, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan, Joker Arroyo, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Vicente Sotto III.
    == We will remember these names. Lahat ng tatakbo next year na nasa list na ito, bababa ang mga boto niyo.

    • Rod

       Wrong. Mananalo ang mga iyan sa tobacco regions.

    • rem_rod

      There are more than 20 provinces in the Philippines that farm tobacco. There are more than 2 million families that rely on this industry. Remember, Filipinos doesn’t forget politicians whose actions directly affect their livelihood. Ask those who did not vote (Legarda, Villar, Cayetano, Guingona).

  • Guest

    Si Lapid talagang walang utak itong taong ito. Tuta lang kasi ng Aquino administration. Ipinagkanulo pa ang dating among si GMA. Wawang Lapid.

  • tonying2645

    I dont understand why some are against this? Magiging healthy yung mga tao plus, gaganda healthcare system natin. Mas madaming pinoy ang pabor dito. 

    • ricelander

      Good intentions indeed.  

      But will make locally produced cigarettes too expensive.  Demand for cheaper cigarettes go up.   Great incentive for smugglers to sneak in smuggled cigarettes from other countries.  BIR chieftain says it is not their problem but of law enforcement.    So the government might consider upgrading its capability to patrol the seas surrounding the archipelago to guard against smugglers because every point along our shores is a potential landing point.  The Philippines, by the way, owns one of the longest shorelines for a country, being an archipelago.

  • Rose

    Im gald na naipasa itong bill na ito :p mababawasan mga nagyoyosi sa kung san san. ambaho pa naman nun at nakaka pollute din kase.

  • dsutada

    Di tayo nakakatiyak kung sa health services mapupunta ang tax from sin products. Gagamitin lang yan sa pulitika, sure yan!

  • Guest

    This sin tax measure only promotes foreign interest where tax rates on imported products will go down, be it distilled spirits or cigarettes, while increasing the taxes significantly on locally-made products.

  • Rod

    This is a free country and nobody is supposed to force their beliefs on other people. Nobody is supposed to force an opinion. There is only rights of people to be protected. Like it is not allowed to smoke in certain places like bus, offices. etc.Bakit Sin ang tawag dyan sa tobacco.  Smoking is bad for the self, payag ako diyan. That tobacco is the cause of lung cancer is a myth.

    Bakit walang ngsasalita dito sa mas malaking menace which is Industrial Air Pollution. Mismo. Mga sasakyan at mga pabrika.

    Why are we killing the source of livelihood na wala naman tayo alternatibo?

  • Maldi2

    Yan ang problema ng Administrasyong ito, kumo di bumoto ang iba panig sa kanilang panukalang batas kahit ka-alyado nila ay isantabi na agad nila sa darating na eleksyon?  Ano yan mga robot na susunod na lang sa lahat ng gusto ng Malakanyang?  WTF!

    Mabuhay kayo mga senador na bumoto ng NO dahil sinasang-alang nyo kapakanan ng mga mamayan!

  • sebastian abao

    mga hambog at arogante talaga yang mga bata ni pnoy e…. di dahil mataas rating amo nyo e tama kayo sa lahat ng isyu…. akala mo sino kayong malinis na walang kabulastugang ginagawa….umayos kayo….

  • $20722540

    i have no problem about the sin tax because i’m really affected…i don’t smoke nor drink.  however, this administration have marketed this bill as healthcare measure which is a “pure” hypocrisy.  They can’t even state how much gov’t hospitals or medical institutions will receive and after 5 years, the whole tax generated from the law will go to the national treasury.  So, how can you sustain those so-called healthcare programs?  this is just pure banana!!!  this abad is one of the under performing secretary and using his LP position to try to influence the decisions of the other senators…ang babaw!!!

    • Jack

      ang plano ng ating gobyerno ay iprivatized ang mga gov’t hospitals. ano na ang mangyayari niyan kung naprivatized na lahat ng gov’t hospitals? kanino na mapupunta yon percentage na sinasabi sa sintax bill na yan na share ng mga gov’t hospitals?

  • Socorro

    May law of karma naman, and to think God’s ways are not man’s ways. Hintayin na lang ng Malacañan ang Diyos. The true God manifested Himself via Pacman’s loss but still they did not heed, well Pinoy  and the rest of pro RH just wait. 

    • Loggnat

       Poor loser and threatening the winners with God’s wrath. Shame on you, do you speak directly with God and that you’re the official spokesperson for HIM/HER?

    • latino_boom

      HUH? Naka drugs ka ba?

  • Socorro

    Remember that the survey asked only a few Filipinos it is not a true representation of the whole population and one more, the questions they fielded are not made public, kasi some are biased on the result they want to get. I have answered one of the surveys before  that is why I do not believe.

  • Socorro

    Sana yung mga mahihirap na nagpapabayad na naman to stage a rally, magising na, are you not aware all the demolitions are stopped kasi election. The RH bill is also using the “poor” sagot daw sa kahirapan, priority daw ang mahihirap ng RH, ang dami ng mga bills na para sa “poor” bakit majority ng Pilipino mahirap pa rin. RH is not the solution to poverty. Gamit na gamit na ang reason na yan. 

    • Marshall

      gungong ka ibang news article ang binigyan mo ng comment…tanga !!!

    • addictscience

      bobo tlaga.You cannot see the outcome like a magic,it depends on how they process the bill and manipulate in a good way.

    • latino_boom

      I cannot prove your point…contradicting ang sinasabi from one bill to another to the squatters na mga baby making machines…ang labo mo nuhh ba ang droga mo ha? sabii ko naman sa iyo tumigil ka na katatambay sa banyo ng sinehan yan high ka na naman…tsk tsk

  • Marshall

    makapangyarihan talaga ang lobby money…..

  • phantomofhope

    c’mon you cannot raise taxes to the max as it will affect the tobacco companies which in turn will destroy livelihood of their employees and farmers…

    let those who smoke take responsibility for their actions

    • leadyourself

       doesn’t charging more for cigarettes do exactly that?

  • andy bonifacio

    I feel disgust for Loren and cayetano. No reason is justifiable for their absence.  Akala ko matapang na may mga prinsipyo , yun pala taguan ang alam  pag harapan na ang laban. I would not waste my vote on those who cannot stand up to fight for what they believe in. These people are nothing but piggy back riders.

    • $20733759

      Iwas pusoy ano bro , so alam mo na kung dapat sila bigyan ng boto o hindi sa darating na eleksyon!

    • Chagia Dan

      si Loren? kelan ba nagkaprinsipyo yan? political butterfly yan, kung saan sya makaka-score dun sya papabor.

  • louie

    i’m already not voting for those who are against the sin tax and rh bill. Isama na rin yung mga kamag-anak nila!! 

  • jtpa


  • Jack

    is “sin tax” bill good? the name alone is already bad. would anybody like to be associated with sin (define as disobedience or transgression of God’s law) ? 

    that’s the problem with this administration, if you are not with them then you are their enemy. will the wrath of this administration befall on the senators who voted no on the “sin tax bill” especially the ones running for re-election this May 2013?

    • latino_boom

      Playing Ignorant mate? yeah or just plain Stupid?

  • Jack

    Malacañang on Wednesday expressed surprise at the close Senate vote on the “sin tax” bill, even issuing a warning to reelectionist senators that the electorate will remember how they voted in next May’s elections.
    this line was used by cbcp on the RH Bill

  • bosesprobinsyano

    The health system of  our country  is disgusting. On TV, or radio/s like DYRD-Tagbilaran by Nite or     in print and social media, we can hear/see appeal for  donation  to  many  sick people who cant afford medication.Hospitals hallways are swarmed  with patients some without Phil Health. Sin tax is expected to raise 35 billion for health programs of the government. Viva to the Senators who were not “influenced” by big tobacco corporations and ratified the sin tax bill:  Drilon, Angara, Pia Cayetano, Defensor-Santiago, Lacson, Lapid, Osmeña III,   Pangilinan, Pimentel III and Trillanes IV . 

  • gatdila

     Ralph Rectum voted against the measure displaying his real color. Maitim talaga ang budhi. Mukhang pera talaga.

  • bosesprobinsyano

    Church ( all churches) and media are influential institutions. The moral fiber of a society is partly be  a product of the media and the church, and it could be reshaped by the  same institutions. The church and media could influenced the public and the  government. Its  time for  the Church and or  the media,  to flex its muscles   to improve (more) the present system – to    reform for a better society,  to improve public health and poverty.  The church  or media  can make sin tax -a health bill or  the health system, an issue . Maybe the PDI could  explain to the public  comprehensively how other countries are doing in terms of  public health, and sin tax.  And how to emulate good practices.
          Media and Church are the most influential lobby institutions . If they will  be properly connected with the people,  correctly positioned and  if they will use their resources and influence, something new , great and powerful will happen.

  • Albin

    Ha, ha, ha. I like this headline on “raise eyebrows”. It’s either from Abigail Valte dahil hindi naman talaga pantay ang kilay nya, or from the top gay, I mean guy himself. Taray!

  • Rolly257

    Enrile, Recto, Jinggoy, Escudero, Honasan, Revilla Jr. and  Sotto…the senators who originally leaning toward for the acquittal of Corona, have showed once more their true colors. Loren and Alan Cayetano were playing safe by not turning up during the voting.

  • Kristoffer Atienza

    Highly unusual. Why would senators re-vote on a Bi-cameral Bill that was previously approved by them to begin with. That’s why it is in a Bi-Cam Conference Committee: It’s a mixture of senators and congressmen already. What’s up with that? 

  • Guest

    Marami nga nai-file na bills si Sen. Jinggoy pero lahat yung mga recycled bills. Ganyan ang style niya sa Senado. Bulok!

  • Guest

    Compared mo naman si Chiz kay Jinggoy, there’s a big difference. Utak pa
    lang, wala na si Chiz. Mukha pa lang, lalo malayo si Jinggoy kay Chiz.

  • Ma Kristina Concepcion

    Mas humanga pa kami kay Sen. Lito Lapid dahil ng bills niya original
    idea, unlike Jinggoy na yun puro recycle bills lang.

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