SC ruling on TRAIN law respects Congress' power to enact tax laws

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

January 27, 2023, 5:28 pm

<p>Supreme Court facade <em>(Courtesy of SC Facebook)</em></p>

Supreme Court facade (Courtesy of SC Facebook)

MANILA – The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday lauded the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law as it demonstrates the high court's commitment to upholding its usual respect for the primacy of Congress in enacting tax legislation.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said the SC’s near-unanimous decision to dismiss petitions against the TRAIN law signifies that the court will respect longstanding jurisprudence that "the taxing power of the State is exclusively a legislative function."

Thirteen justices voted to dismiss the two petitions from a consumer group and former lawmakers which challenged the constitutionality of Republic Act 10963. Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa dissented, while Associate Justice Ricardo Rosario was on wellness leave and took no part in the decision.

“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," he said in a statement.

He further noted that the recent ruling strengthens his committee’s mandate to pursue tax reforms.

“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,” he said.

“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," he added.

He warned that if the law were voided, major increases in the take-home pay of average taxpayers would have been nullified, including the 5 percent or so increase in take-home that workers received from the TRAIN law this 2023.

“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.” (PNA)