[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 18 October Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Oct 18 15:38:01 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 18 October Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


SC upholds EVAT law (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

"The Supreme Court upheld Tuesday the constitutionality of the expanded value-added-tax (EVAT) law, lifting the temporary restraining order against the implementation of the broader sales tax, DZMM reported. 

The EVAT law allows President Arroyo to raise the sales tax rate to 12 percent in January from the present 10 percent. 

The high court's 15 justices released their decision after deliberations that started at 10:00 a.m..

"All the loose ends have been tied up and there is nothing more forthcoming from both parties," court spokesman Ismael Khan told Reuters, referring to the government and opposition groups that have questioned the law's constitutionality.

The court froze the tax measure on July 1, hours after it came into force, as the justices weighed a series of legal motions by the political opposition, petroleum dealers and a provincial governor.

Groups opposed to the measure filed another challenge with the court after its September 1 decision that the EVAT was constitutional.

It also ends exemptions on a wide range of goods and services and raises corporate income tax to 35 percent from 32 percent for three years.

Government officials say they plan to implement the law on November 1."

Minority leader bewails executive order, says Congress will be crippled (www.philstar.com)


"Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. Monday warned that all aspects of work of Congress are in danger of being undermined and impaired unless Malacañang's gag order on administrative officials invited to congressional hearings is revoked. 

Pimentel expressed fears that Congress will be reduced to an inutile body, especially in exercising its investigative functions, unless the Supreme Court voids Executive Order 464 prohibiting Cabinet members and other officials of the executive branch from testifying before legislative inquiries without prior presidential clearance. 

However, he said he could not see how a patently unconstitutional and undemocratic order issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could be judicially upheld without destroying the principles of checks and balance between two co-equal and independent branches of government, of transparency and people's right to information enshrined in the 1987 Constitution."


Palace denies media gag order (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

"Malacañan dismissed on Tuesday reports that it intends to control or gag the media through executive order (EO) 454, which places the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) under the supervision and control of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye termed as malicious the opposition's interpretation of EO 454, adding that it was "another case of paranoia." 

He said the Palace order is part of the streamlining and reorganization of the executive branch and is not meant to influence the media. 

"The government has allowed the media to practically scream at the President at every turn. This administration has no intention of gagging the press and this will never happen under the President's watch," he said in a statement. 

House Minority Leader Francis Escudero earlier accused the Arroyo administration of trying to control the media through EO 454, which was signed last August 16."

US welcomes Australia's proposed troop deployment to RP (inq7.net)


"THE UNITED STATES welcomed on Tuesday a proposed accord that would allow Australian troops to train Philippine soldiers in counterterrorism, but a left-wing opposition lawmaker feared that it could lead to foreign intervention.

Australian Defense Minister Robert Hill, on a four-day visit for counterterrorism talks, said Monday his government was negotiating a status-of-forces agreement with the Philippines to expand its training of local troops battling Al Qaeda-linked militants.

The accord, which Manila proposed last year, would make Australia the second country after the US to be given permission to train troops in the country, which has been criticized as the weakest link in the war on terror in Southeast Asia because of the presence of terror training camps.

"More cooperation among partners in fighting terrorism is a good thing," US Embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop said.

He said it was up to Australia and the Philippines to determine what kind of training the Australians could provide."

P47-billion 2006 budget for 'healing funds' questioned (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

"Sen. Manny Villar, chairman of committee on finance, said on Monday that he preferred devoting a bigger chunk of the 2006 budget to the Department of Health rather than to the "EDSA healing funds."

The 2006 national budget, which totals P1.05 trillion, includes a P47-billion allocation for the "healing funds."

President Arroyo, in her State of the Nation address in July, said her 10-point agenda needed the "healing funds" to address the "divisiveness" that the People-Power revolutions have "inflicted" on the nation.

However, the inclusion of the controversial funds in next year's budget is causing a stir.

Villar said the Senate will scrutinize the allocation, which is broken down to P13.1 billion for compensation increase, P5 billion for the Kilos Asenso fund and P29 billion for the pension of retired soldiers.

He raised this concern during the first briefing by the development budget coordinating committee led by the Department of Budget and Management and Department of Finance on the 2006 General Appropriations Act."

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