Senate move on pork tariffs a ‘warning shot’
Congress may be compelled to override President Duterte’s authority to fix pork importation volumes and tariff rates unless the executive branch withdraws the two policies that will likely cripple the hog industry, Senate leaders warned on Friday.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the Senate’s unanimous adoption on Thursday of a resolution urging the revocation of the increase in the minimum allowed volume (MAV) of imported pork and the tariff cuts was only a “warning shot” and could turn into a larger move to check presidential powers.
“[The] Senate is just being polite but, when these two policies are not recalled immediately, we will be constrained to withdraw the authority that Congress had previously given to the President to fix tariffs and set the MAV of pork when we resume session on May 17 through a joint resolution,” he told the Inquirer.
“Under our systems of laws, the setting of the MAV and the power to set the tariff rates are the functions of Congress,” Drilon reminded Malacañang.
He said the exercise of the President of the power to increase the MAV and to lower the tariff “are delegated authorities of Congress, which may be withdrawn or terminated by Congress through a joint resolution.”Mr. Duterte raised the MAV of pork products by 350,000 metric tons in a move intended to stem persistent pork prices, but he also cut duties on pork imports under Executive Order No. 128, dealing a severe blow to hog raisers.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III agreed with Drilon, saying the mandate used by the President to enforce the two new policies emanated from the delegated power of Congress.
In a radio interview on Friday, Sotto warned Malacañang and the President’s advisers of the consequences of not heeding the Senate’s call.
“Now, if they don’t listen to us and if they continue to feed the President wrong information, when we go on session on May 17, we will pass a joint resolution withdrawing the delegated power to the President,” he said.
Such a move would have the effect of “overriding” the President’s authority to implement the two policies, Sotto said.
Drilon also cited jurisprudence stating that “it is Congress, not the President, which possesses inherent powers to impose tariffs and imposts.”
“Without legislative authorization through statute, the President has no power, authority or right to impose and fix tariffs and quotas because taxation is inherently legislative, not executive,” he said. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.