Press Release
October 17, 2012

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On Sin Tax

SP: We just want to meet the Secretary of Finance and the Secretary of Health informally to discuss the Sin Tax and to find out if there's a possible area of agreement in order to hasten the discussion.

Q: Sir, bakit po kayo nag-decide na informal na lang and not the question hour?

SP: Alam mo, mayroong mga nagsu-suggest na question hour. We do not want to discuss the issue publicly because this could be done informally para hindi parang adversarial na kapag naging question hour.

Q: Sir, si Sec. Manuel Mamba, invited din po?

SP: Yes. Itatanong lang naming kung saan nanggagaling 'yung impormasyon mo dahil kung may ebidensiya sila na nabayaran kami, we will accept it.

Q: Sir, kung ano po 'yung magiging resulta ng discussions with the Finance and Health secretaries...

SP: I don't know yet. We are just going to ask their positions because while we have a committee report on the Floor, evidently, that's not acceptable to them. What is acceptable to them?

Q: Will you take that into consideration when you deliberate?

SP: Well, this was the suggestion of some senators. As far as I'm concerned, I am the presiding officer of the Senate. Any measure in our agenda is a debatable matter but some of the members of the Senate have requested two of the Cabinet members to appear so that they could ask questions.

Q: Sir, invited na po si Mamba sa caucus, ibig sabihin hindi na po magpapatuloy 'yung Senate investigation?

SP: Ako, tama na 'yung nasabi namin sa Record. Kung mayroon siyang ebidensiya, ilabas niya. Isiwalat niya sa inyo.

Q: Sir, reaction niyo kasi si Senator Recto ayaw na ipagamit 'yung committee report niya sa plenary deliberation...

SP: Well, his theory and I tend to agree with him, that is his own conception, his own model of the tax measure that is ought to be discussed in the Chamber and I think that came from his own mind. I don't know if the other members of the committee participated in the creation of that model. In my case, I also retrieved my Bill that I filed in 2004. So, that's a model that I crafted out of my own study. You cannot do a tax model without studying it, you know, and its implication to the economy because any tax measure has an economic impact. It has a social impact.

Q: Sir, kung gagamitin po 'yung Santiago Bill o kaya 'yung House Bill, kailangan po bang mag-public hearing ulit?

SP: Hindi na. They can adopt it as a working draft for discussion or include both, the House Bill and the Santiago Bill, and the Lacson Bill. You know, ang suggestion ko sa kanila, let us give the Bill that gives the government the maximum yield of revenue and then we start from there whether we sustain it or scale it down and to what level we should scale it down. But if we are going to start with the Recto Bill, it's not acceptable anyway. Pera itong pinag-uusapan natin at tawaran 'yan di ba? Paano kayo magtatawaran? Mas mabuti na 'yung pinakamataas.

Q: That means the P60 billion, sir?

SP: I think the Santiago Bill is almost similar to the government's original position. So, we can either use that or use the House Bill already. Bring it to the Floor and that will not require any further public hearing. We'd start from there but I suggest that we use the highest level of proposed tax revenue and scale it down.

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