Lawyer known for poll recount now fights for ‘senior’ discount
He’s known for handling election cases calling for a recount, but now Romulo Macalintal is also demanding a discount.
The poll lawyer on Thursday filed criminal complaints against the management of two restaurants in Pasay and Las Piñas cities for allegedly violating the law on senior citizens like him.
The 66-year-old Macalintal complained that the two restaurants had denied him and his wife a 20-percent discount and exemption from the value added tax (VAT), which the couple are entitled to under Republic Act No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
The complainant, through a younger lawyer, Antonio Carlos Bautista, pressed charges against Cafe Mediterranean, located at Resorts World Manila in Pasay City; and against Black Canyon Coffee at SM South Mall in Las Piñas City.
He said the complaints may be considered a “test case” for the enforcement of RA 9994 and a message to his fellow senior citizens to fight for their rights.
Macalintal recalled that on July 4 and 5, both establishments refused to acknowledge the driver’s licenses that he and his wife presented as proof of their being senior citizens, and thus denied them of their right to special discounts and VAT exemption.
The restaurant employees allegedly told the couple that, under the policies laid down by the management, they extend discounts and other benefits only to those who could present Senior Citizens Cards issued by the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs.
Macalintal said he had to lecture the staff about the law to explain that any document establishing a person’s Filipino citizenship and showing him or her to be least 60 years old could also serve as proof. These include passports, driver’s licenses, voter’s IDs, SSS and GSIS cards, etc.
“This is so because those who crafted the law have also thought that senior citizens have this habit of forgetting things,” he said.
At the Las Piñas restaurant, he recalled, the employees even argued that their policy was to honor only “two senior citizens per table.”
Violators of RA 9994 may face imprisonment of not less than two years and a fine from P50,000 to P100, 000, he said. “The law also states that while the case is pending, we can ask for the cancellation of the business permit or the temporary closure (of the establishment being sued).”
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.