MANILA—Although his parents have served as members of Congress, independent vice presidential bet Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said he is in favor of passing into law the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill even if he comes from a family of politicians.
Escudero, however, clarified that he won’t participate in crafting the enabling law to enforce the 1987 Constitution’s prohibition against political dynasties, as he might be seen as pushing for the interests of his own family.
“Boboto ako pabor sa anumang anti-dynasty measure pero hindi ako lalahok sa paghubog nito. Naniniwala kasi ako na hindi tama na makilahok ang sinumang nanggaling dyan kaugnay sa pagsusulat ng batas na magbabawal din dyan,” Escudero said in response to a question asked on him during the vice presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), together with CNN Philippines, Rappler and Business Mirror, at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Sunday.
Asked how he would keep political dynasties in check, Escudero said that based on his own experience, he never supported relatives who ran for public office if he believed they were not qualified.
Escudero is the son of the late Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero III. His mother Evelina is currently the representative of Sorsogon’s first district.
On the issue of tax, Escudero said he will not support any measure that would raise taxes in the Philippines, whether as lawmaker or vice president, if he wins in the May 9 elections.
Asked why he did not vote for the passage of the Sin Tax Law, Escudero said this position was simply consistent with his advocacy for reforms that will lower taxes, not add or increase existing ones.
The seasoned lawmaker said the Sin Tax Law affects the lifestyle of the poor, who are primary consumers of the products whose manufacturers pay the sin tax. Manufacturers are known to pass on the burden of taxes to its consumers.
‘Yung mahirap po ang kadalasang binubuwisan ng Sin Tax ninyo dahil sila, madalas sa bukid ang mga gumagamit ng produkto na nais niyong buwisan,” Escudero said.
“Imbes na ‘yan, sana binuwisan niyo na lang yung mga mayamang may kotse, yung mga eroplano ng mga mayayaman, sana yung mga barko at yate ng mga mayayaman. Kung ‘yan ang panukala niyo, boboto marahil ako kung mayaman ang bubuwisan ninyo,” he said.
Escudero is the sponsor of a bill that later became Republic Act No. 9504. It exempts minimum wage earners in the private and public sectors from paying income tax. The law covers the basic pay, holiday pay, overtime pay, night shift differential and hazard pay received by minimum wage earners.
Escudero is also among the main proponents of tax reforms in the 16th Congress, noting that since 1997, when the Tax Reform Act was passed, tax brackets in the Philippines have not changed.
After the more than three-hour debate, Escudero said he would stick to clean campaign that will focus on inclusive growth by fighting poverty, corruption and criminality as running mate of presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe.
”Hindi ko po ugali na apakan ang ibang tao para umangat, at lalong hindi ko ugali na buhatin ang sarili kong bangko,” Escudero, accompanied by his wife actress Heart Evanelista, said in his closing statement.