SC says TRAIN Act constitutional
MANILA, Philippines — With 13 associate justices concurring, the petition against the constitutionality of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act has been dismissed.
The Supreme Court (SC) said in its ruling that petitioners failed to justify that provisions of the TRAIN Act are “anti-poor” and “remained largely hypothetical.”
The 2018 petition was filed by ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao. They were assisted by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).
According to the petitioners, the tax reform law was procedurally infirm because it was approved without a quorum in the House of Representatives as required in the 1987 Constitution.
But the SC said the supposed absence of a quorum was belied by the Official Journal of the House of Representatives, both on the day that the then-proposed TRAIN law’s Bicameral Conference Report was ratified and the subsequent session that followed on January 15, 2018.
The TRAIN law, which is the centerpiece of the Duterte administration’s effort to reform taxation and earn additional revenues, promises lower personal income tax rates and increased excise taxes on petroleum products, automobiles, sugar-sweetened beverages, and tobacco.
The SC, through Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao, said that “the Constitution, in its present form, does not prohibit the imposition of regressive taxes, but merely directs Congress to evolve a progressive system of taxation.”
Meanwhile, Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa registered his dissent to the decision while Associate Justice Ricardo Rosario was on wellness leave.