Lapid urges BIR to act on ‘Lapid law’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Lito Lapid appealed to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Monday to tackle the measure he authored and enacted into law 10 years ago.
Lapid lamented that until now, the BIR has yet to come up with the implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) of Republic Act No. 9999 or the Free Legal Assistance Act of 2010 that would provide free legal assistance to the poor.
“Kasi meron po akong ipinasang batas, yung free legal assistance, 2010 pa po. Ang presidente po noon si President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo…at ni hindi po na-tackle ang IRR nya e…” he said on the Senate floor.
(Because I passed a law, the free legal assistance, it was in 2010 during the time of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo…The IRR has not been tackled yet.)
“Kaya gusto ko itanong din sa BIR, kung bakit hindi nila tinackle ito. Ang tagal tagal na po nito,” the senator added.
(That’s why I want to ask the BIR why they are not tackling this. This has taken far too long.)
The law also grants tax credits to lawyers rendering free legal services to poor clients.
Thus, the BIR was mandated to “formulate the necessary revenue regulations for the proper implementation of the tax component” as provided for in the law.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, was directed to craft the necessary IRRs with respect to the legal services law as well as the process of accreditation of organizations and/or associations which will provide free legal assistance.
The issue was brought up when Senator Francis Tolentino, in a privilege speech, raised fears that the laws that Congress is crafting might just end up “twisted, deformed, mutilated and become unrecognizable” in the IRRs.
“The IRRs have not only misinterpreted our laws, but ultimately defied the will of the people as the real sovereign imbibed in our laws,” Tolentino said.
Several senators, including Lapid and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, shared Tolentino’s sentiments.
“Pag tungkol sa pera parang ayaw nilang gawin e. Kahit anong gawin natin dito, pasa tayo ng pasa ng batas hindi naman nila tinatackle, anong gagawin natin dito?” Lapid went on.
(When it’s about money, they don’t want to touch it. Whatever we do here, we will just past laws and then they won’t tackle it, what are we going to do here?)
“Ako bibihira lang ako maano tapos hindi pa nila ginagalaw kaya nakikiusap ako sana galawin naman nila, para magkaroon naman ng Lapid law,” he said.
(That’s why I appeal to them to act on it so there can be a Lapid law)
Sotto, for his part, noted how the implementation of the anti-terror law has been delayed also due to the crafting of the IRRs.
“Yung anti-terror law, may mga dialogue sila na naririnig ako na hinihintay yung IRR. That’s BS. It’s already a law, its been signed by the President. Anong IRR , it’s not necessary and they have to implement the law,” the Senate leader said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, reminded his colleagues that while Congress has the mandate to craft laws, the issuance of rules and regulations and implementation would now be up to the executive branch.
Drilon suggested to just bring the questionable IRRs to court and have them declared illegal.
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