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Colmenares: Draft Charter exempts top gov’t officials from income tax

By: - Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
/ 03:32 PM January 10, 2018
Neri Colmenares

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares (File photo by KIMBERLY DELA CRUZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Once the proposed federal charter is approved, the country’s top officials would be exempted from paying income tax, a former progressive lawmaker revealed on Wednesday.

Warning that a constituent assembly (Con-ass) could lead to a “self-serving” Constitution, former Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares said that under Section 15, Article XVII of the Resolution of Both Houses (RHB) No. 8, the President, senators, members of the House of Representatives, and top members of the Judiciary are exempted from paying income tax.

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“I do not think any one can argue that this is not self-serving.  While ordinary tax payers have to struggle for years to lower income tax, members of Congress did not just lower, but exempted themselves from paying income tax in one [full] swoop,” Colmenares said in a statement.

“Why should high-salaried top officials be exempted from income tax while ordinary people pay taxes? They cannot convene themselves into a con-ass and exempt themselves from paying income tax. The people will not accept con-ass,” he added.

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Section 15 of the RHB states: “Until the Federal Congress provides otherwise, the President, Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker of the House, the Chief Justice, the Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, Justices of the Supreme Court, Chairpersons of the Constitutional Commissions shall continue to receive the annual salaries that they are presently receiving at the time of the ratification of the Constitution without any income tax deductions.”

Colmenares said the latest move to amend the Constitution is “the worst Charter change [cha-cha]ever” as the proposed draft “absurdly” gives the members of the Congress the power to decide on their own term extension.

“All previous cha-chas have been about eliminating term limits, extending terms and no-election scenario. This cha-cha is the worst cha-cha ever, and allowing Congress the power to insert self-serving provisions will only exacerbate the problems of the Filipino people,” he said.

Colmenares warned that the Congress will push through with the con-ass if the people do not oppose the proposed measure.

“Now is the time for the people to oppose cha-cha and con-ass,” he added. /je

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TAGS: Cha-cha, Con-Ass, Constitution, draft charter, exempt, Income Tax, Neri Colmenares
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