News Briefs: House OKs bill setting donor’s tax rate at 6%
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure simplifying the donor’s tax by imposing a unitary rate of 6 percent on all gifts with a net value above P100,000.
During its Monday evening plenary session, 221 lawmakers unanimously voted to approve House Bill No. 4903, which simplifies tax rates on gifts.
The current rates for gifts above P100,000 vary at 2 percent, 4 percent, 6 percent, 8 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent, or 15 percent depending on the bracket of the gift value.
But the bill retains the tax exemption for gifts with a net value below P100,000 as currently provided by Section 99 of the National Internal Revenue Code. —Vince F. Nonato
Imelda’s lawyer cited in contempt
The Sandiganbayan has cited the lawyer of former First Lady Imelda Marcos in contempt for his third straight absence from her graft trial.
Lawyer Robert A.C. Sison also lost the chance to continue presenting additional evidence in defense of the now-Ilocos Norte 2nd Dist. representative accused of unlawful involvement in several foundations during the Marcos dictatorship.
Upon the motion of Assistant Special Prosecutor Ryan Rey Quilala, the court’s Fifth Division imposed a P2,000 fine on Sison.
Acting chair Justice Rafael Lagos said “we’ll consider the absence of counsel as a waiver of the right to present evidence.” —Vince F. Nonato
Marinduque lawmaker seeks graft case dismissal
Former Marinduque Rep. Edmundo Reyes Jr. has asked the Sandiganbayan to throw out his cases for graft and malversation in connection with the 2004 fertilizer fund scam, citing delays in the prosecution by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Reyes said the Ombudsman took five years and seven months to finish the preliminary investigation stage on the June 2011 complaint.
The charges were only brought to the antigraft court this month. Reyes and six Department of Agriculture regional officials were implicated in the allegedly irregular release of P5 million to Gabaymasa Development Foundation Inc. —Vince F. Nonato
Pope Francis accepts Ilagan bishop’s resignation
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the bishop of Ilagan, Isabela, Joseph Nacua, 72, for health reasons.
The Pontiff’s acceptance of the prelate’s resignation on Feb. 25 was posted on the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
Fr. Gregorio Uanan, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Ilagan, said Nacua suffered a stroke in 2015 and had to be hospitalized.
“We have a huge diocese and it’s hard for him already so he thought that it would be best for him to just retire,”
Uanan said. Nacua, a Capuchin missionary, was installed bishop of the diocese in September 2008. —Julie M. Aurelio
DepEd: Attendance in field trips, proms not required
Education Secretary Leonor Briones has warned school officials against making students join field trips, junior-senior proms and nonacademic projects as requirements for graduation or completion.
In an order dated Feb. 17, Briones also reminded all public and private elementary and high schools to keep graduation ceremonies simple yet meaningful without unnecessary expenses and away from politics.
The DepEd chief noted that graduation rites this year should be scheduled on or before April 7. —Jocelyn R. Uy
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