Press Releases

Salceda on SC affirming TRAIN Law: Mandate of House tax panel is made stronger by the ruling

January 28th, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) said that his committee’s mandate I pursuing tax reforms is made stronger by the recent ruling of the Supreme Court affirming the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which Salceda principally authored during the 17th Congress.

The Supreme Court announced the ruling in a press release today.

“The Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the TRAIN Law demonstrates the Court’s commitment to upholding its usual respect for the primacy of Congress in enacting tax legislation. If the law were voided, major increases in the takehome pay of average taxpayers would have been nullified – including the 5% or so increase in takehome that workers received from the TRAIN law this 2023,” Salceda said.

“Of course, we are committed to a progressive tax system. That said, this is a matter for Congressional debate, not a matter for courts to decide. And the ruling affirms this.”

Salceda adds that the Supreme Court’s near-unanimous decision to dismiss petitions against the TRAIN law signify that the Court will respect longstanding jurisprudence that ‘the taxing power of the State is exclusively a legislative function.’

“The vote showed a near-total consensus among Justices that the Court will respect Congress’ long-established breadth of latitude over fiscal policy. That gives us a lot of room to improve tax policy, without fear of the Supreme Court striking these reforms down unjustly.”

“The ruling affirms that, indeed, Congress is where tax law is written. That strengthens the hand of the House Committee on Ways and Means to continue its policy reform and tax oversight efforts,” Salceda added.

“Moving forward, we are committed to performing our duty of indeed evolving a system of taxation that is truly progressive – not only in the burden it imposes, but also the benefits of what it collects. And part of evolving a progressive system of taxation is ensuring that the burden actually gets imposed on the intended taxpayers. And that means fighting smuggling and tax evasion, which my Committee has done committedly.”

Hearings on smuggling to remain “policy-based”

“We are also committed to continuously monitoring and enhancing the implementation of tax reform measures. That is why my Committee has been holding hearings on agricultural, tobacco, and petroleum smuggling – to protect the revenue streams these hard-earned reforms have created,” Salceda said.

“I take very seriously the fact that these hearings are in aid of legislation, not to take the place of prosecution or law enforcement. So, while the hearings could name names, we will do so in the name of improving tax policy and enforcement. Not to harass anybody.”

“On smuggling, expect us to make recommendations that will improve the system of both enforcement and prosecution. We need a system of preventing smuggling and also a system of ensuring the cases Customs and the DOJ files actually result in convictions.”

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