MANILA – With the Malacañang saying that they will support the passage of the income tax reform bill if the Congress lifts the bank secrecy law, several lawmakers stressed that the proposal may discourage businessmen and lead to the harassment of some politicians.
“I am against it (lifting bank secrecy law) because this will scare off local and foreign investors,” House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. said.
“It’s a gambit against the idea of lowering income tax. My challenge to BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) is to expand the miniscule tax base of the country and start with the country’s richest families and those, although ostensibly not rich, who deport themselves with super expensive cars,” he added.
Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, on the other hand, believed that the Palace’ proposal may be ‘good and very laudable for transparency and accountability.’ He feared, however, that the anti-tax evasion measure may allow the persecution of some members of the opposition.
“Passing this right now is ill timed because we have a color-blind government or selective in giving justice and not sincere in prosecuting violators of the country’s laws,” Romualdez said.
“This could be used as a tool for persecution or harassment against members of the political opposition. This government has a track record of demolishing the image of its enemies,” he added.
Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Representative Lito Atienza also saw that the lifting of the bank secrecy law could be used politically instead, pointing out the Aquino administration’s alleged ‘selective justice.’
“I would support that under a different condition, kapag nakikita mong fair play ang labanan, ngayon peligroso. I am not in support now because this can be used politically. We can’t do this under a regime behind selective justice, mabigat iyan. Kawawa naman ang oposisyon,” Atienza said.
(I would support that under a different condition, when you see that there’s fair play in the fight; right now, it’s perilous. I am not in support now because this can be used politically. We can’t do this under a regime behind selective justice, that’s formidable. I pity the opposition.)
It can be noted that Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, who named himself as the leader of the opposition, has been facing numerous corruption allegations against him.