Press Release
April 13, 2010


Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said yesterday he would ask the Senate to investigate the Bureau of Internal Revenue if it insists on imposing the 12 percent value added tax on toll fees, asserting that the collection would be illegal.

In an interview, Enrile said that once the Senate reconvenes after its recess, he would ask the appropriate Senate committee to investigate the BIR and ask the agency to explain why it would insist in collecting the 12 percent tax on toll fees.

Enrile also threatened to cut the budget for the BIR "down to zero" if it insists on imposing the VAT on toll fees.

"If it is the government that put up the tollgate, and it is the one that is collecting the toll, is there need for the VAT?" Enrile said.

He warned that if the government collects the VAT on public utility vehicles, cargo trucks and even ambulances eventually as proposed, it would only push up the costs of travel, goods and services, thus further unnecessarily burdening the people.

Enrile urged the private transport operators to take the issue to the Supreme Court, saying that the BIR was misinterpreting the law in imposing the VAT on toll fees. He said the private sector should seek a TRO (temporary restraining order) to prevent BIR from imposing the tax.

The Senate President also turned down the proposal of Finance Secretary Gary Teves to increase the VAT from 12 to 15 percent. "This Teves does not know anything except to increase the taxes on the small people and the poor," Enrile declared.

He said that taxation should be based on "ability to pay", on the rich and those tax evaders and the "crocodiles" (yung mga buwaya dapat) of society.

On the increase in electricity rates, Enrile said it was only temporary because of the lack of electricity caused by the drought which has been attributed to the climate change phenomenon. However, he proposed the operation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to provide additional electricity and thus avoid power brownouts in the future. He also proposed tapping additional and renewable sources of energy.

On the issue of the mental and emotional state of candidates, Enrile said that that is "fair game" because the candidate may become president, and his health, emotional and mental state could affect the fate of the nation.

If reelected, Enrile said, he would continue serving the nation by helping enact wise laws that would promote economic and social progress and stability.

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