May 302013
In what appears to be a case of the son continuing his father’s fight, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman’s son, Edcel Jr., is set to refile the bill seeking to give additional benefits to Filipino centenarians when the 16th Congress opens in July.

This was according to the elder Lagman, days after President Benigno Aquino III vetoed the proposed measure that seeks to give, among others, a 75-percent discount on goods and services to Filipino centenarians for supposedly being “too heavy” for businesses.

“Ang aking anak, si Congressman-elect Edcel Lagman Jr., ay ipa-file ang original House version na walang objectionable portion na nilagay ni Senator Kiko Pangilinan,” Lagman said in an interview on GMA News TV’s “News To Go” on Thursday.

The younger Lagman will replace his father as Albay first district representative after winning in the recently concluded midterm elections.

The bill entitles Filipino citizens who reached and will reach the age of 100 to a P100,000 cash gift as well as a letter of felicitation from the president congratulating the centenarian for his or her longevity.

Pangilinan’s fault?

The elder Lagman, the bill’s author at the House of Representatives, blamed Sen. Francis Pangilinan for the measure’s fate, saying it was the senator who raised the proposed discount rate to 75 percent from the original 50 percent.

“Ang rason kung bakit binitin ng pangulo dahil sa Senate version sapagkat tinaasan ni Senator Kiko Pangilinan ‘yung 50 percent discount to 75 percent,” he said, adding Pangilinan essentially copied his bill and inserted objectionable provisions.

“Naiintindihan ko ang objection ng ating pangulo. Kailangan huwag naman malugi ang negosyante. Just imagine, 75 percent is more than their capital,” Lagman said.

“Kailangang makabawi sila through tax credit or tax deduction kaya ang propose ng mababang kapulungan ay may ganoong probisyon at 50 porsyento lamang,” he added.

GMA News Online has sought Pangilinan’s reaction to Lagman’s statement, but he has not replied as of posting time.

In explaining why Aquino did not approve the bill, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said aside from the 75-percent discount, the proposed legislation also “did not provide for a tax credit or a tax deduction for establishments to recover the setback” from the suggested discounts for centenarians.

Lagman, however, insisted that this part was addressed in the House version of the bill. “Mayroong reference doon sa Senior Citizen’s Act na may tax credit o tax deduction,” he said. Amanda Fernandez/KBK, GMA News

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