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Consumer group files 2nd petition vs Train at Supreme Court

/ 07:48 PM January 22, 2018

A second petition has been filed with the Supreme Court to nullify the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (Train Law).

The petition filed by consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer, Inc. said the petition imposes a “heavy burden” to the public.

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“The unwarranted imposition of excise taxes on diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, and kerosene, and the increase in the excise tax on coal which are considered (or form part) of basic commodities… are in the nature of a tax subsistence,” the group said.

The petitioners added that the Constitution requires taxation to be progressive.

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In this case, however, the group described Train Law as not only inequitable but regressive.

“The increase and/or imposition of excise taxes on coal, LPG, diesel, and kerosene are clearly violative of the basic principles and inherent limitations on Philippine taxation,” the petitioners said.

According to them, provisions of the Train Law also violates due process and the equal protection clause “considering that the exorbitant excise taxes on these basic commodities stand to greatly impact and impose heavy financial burden on low-income and poor families.”

For example, the group said, the increased excise tax on petroleum products would have a domino effect on the prices of goods since public transportation uses diesel, which would mean higher fares and increased cost of transporting goods.

“A sound tax system must take into consideration the taxpayers’ ability to pay. Thus, a tax law which runs contrary to this principle is void for being unconstitutional,” the group said.

The imposition of the Train Law is the first phase of the government’s comprehensive tax reform program. It amended a 20-year old tax regime, lowering personal income tax while raising excise taxes on petroleum products, cars, coal, sugary drinks, and tobacco.

The group also reiterated the argument raised in the first anti-Train Law petition stationg that the law was procedurally infirm considering that it was passed in Congress without a quorum.

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“From the very beginning, the Congress brazenly railroaded the Train and blatantly disregarded even the most minimal standards of democracy,” the petition said. “This fact alone, on its face, is grave abuse of discretion on the part of the lawmakers’ is a blatant disregard of the constitutional safeguards on procedure for passing a law to ensure maximum representation of representatives of the people in policy-making.”

While the case is still pending, the group urged the high court to issue a restraining order or a status quo ante order (SQAO) against its implementation.

Named as respondents are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

The first petition against the Train Law was filed by Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao. /atm

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TAGS: Laban Konsyumer, Supreme Court, tax reform law, Train
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