Pacquiao, Chavit Singson part ways after disagreement over ‘sin’ tax
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao said on Friday that Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson has withdrawn his support for him after their disagreement on the imposition of higher excise taxes for alcohol and tobacco products.
According to Pacquiao, Singson left him hanging after he stood for “what is right.”
“Iniwanan na nga po ako ngayon sa ere eh. Iniwanan na po ako ngayon dahil nanindigan po tayo sa tama. Kapakanan ng taumbayan ang [inisip] natin,” Pacquiao said of Singson in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
(He left me hanging because I stood for what is right and prioritized the welfare of Filipinos.)
Singson was conspicuously absent in Pacquiao’s last boxing fight with Yordenis Ugas of Cuba last August, prompting speculations of a possible rift between the Pambansang Kamao and his self-confessed benefactor and political mentor.
The veteran politician had been a permanent fixture in all of Pacquiao’s international fights and even in his political and personal endeavors.
“Iniwan sa ere dahil unang-una sabi niya magsupport siya sa akin and then after nung nanindigan ako sa tama. Doon nagsimula itong issue na ito noong kinausap niya ako about sa tobacco tax increase. Hindi ko naman po pinagbigyan ito,” he added.
(He left me hanging because he told me at first that he will support me but did not do so after I stood for what is right. This started when he talked to me about the tobacco tax increase. I did not follow his request.)
Pacquiao said Singson talked to him twice about the issue. However, Pacquiao said he continued pushing for higher alcohol and tobacco taxes as the government needs more funds.
“Dalawang beses ‘yan. Kinausap ako ni pareng Chavit dalawang beses tapos hindi po ako pumayag. Sabi ko itutuloy ko ito dahil ito ‘yung nakikita kong paraan para makadagdag tayo ng pondo sa gobyerno at makatulong sa ating mga kababayan,” the senator said.
(That happened twice. He talked to me twice but I did not heed his request. I said I will push for it because this is the only way I see that can raise government funds and help Filipinos.)
In 2017, Pacquiao filed Senate Bill No 1599 that sought to amend Republic Act 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012 and to raise the cigarette excise tax to P60 per pack.
In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposal of the Department of Health and the Department of Finance to increase the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco.
Pacquiao said a minimum of P120 billion are being added to government funds each year due to higher taxes on the said “sin” products.
Singson has yet to respond to INQUIRER.net’s request for comment.
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