Fact Check: Escudero and his aversion to tax increase

by Lorraine Soldevilla

In ANC’s Headstart, incumbent senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero claimed that ever since he began his political career in 1998, he never voted in favor of any bill that increases taxes.

There are four major tax laws passed since 1998. These are Value Added Tax Law (RA 8761), Expanded Value Added Tax Law (RA 9337), Sin Tax Law Reform Law of 2012 (RA 10351) and Abolition of Common Carriers Tax Act and Gross Philippine Billings Taxes (RA 10374).

Escudero voted against almost of the tax bills except RA 9224, An Act Rationalizing the Excise Tax on Automobiles. In simple terms, this law aims to streamline the taxation of vehicles based on the selling price, where lower-priced vehicles get taxed less than more expensive ones.

He also voted for tax bills providing exemptions, such as RA 10374, bills which provide exemptions to certain entities rather than the imposition of new taxes, Alternative Fuel Vehicles Incentives bill (SB 2856), seeking to grant tax incentives to manufacturers and importers of alternative fuel vehicles  and Additional Relief to Families Act (SB 2855), granting tax reductions to income taxes.

Moreover, in 2009, he opposed the Department of Finance’s move to levy taxes on imported books, stating that it violates “section 13 of the Constitution which calls on the government to promote and protect the youth’s intellectual well-being.” Escudero also objected to the move to tax text messaging in the Philippines. The Senator only involved himself with tax-related bills that sought to reduce taxes, including Senate bill 717 which aims to reduce taxes imposed on the film industry. He is a sponsor and co-author of a SB 2293 which provides tax exemptions to minimum wage earners and SB 2166 which seeks for Documentary Stamp Tax Exemption.

Was Escudero being truthful when he claimed that he never voted for a bill that increases taxes? On balance, it appears that this is correct.

Lorraine Soldevilla is a third year undergraduate student of the Department of Sociology, UP Diliman.

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