Dec 022017

MANILA, Nov 22 (Mabuhay) — A party-list lawmaker on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to scrap the Land Transportation Office’s P836-million project involving the procurement of driver’s license cards this year.

ACTS OFW party-list Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III argued that the General Appropriations Act of 2016 did not allocate a single centavo for the procurement of driver’s license cards with five-year validity.

Bertiz cited Article 6, Section 29 (1) of the 1987 Constitution which provides that “no money shall be paid out of the Treasury “except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.”

“If Congress had deliberately and purposely intended to appropriate public funds to be used as an expenditure for the LTO-Driver’s License Cards, it would have specifically and particularly approved an item of appropriation for the ‘production of driver’s licenses’ as it purposely and deliberately did in the GAA 2013,” the petition stated.

“In the absence of a specific and particular item of appropriation for the ‘production of driver’s licenses’ in the GAA 2016, Congress evidently and without nary a doubt deliberately determined and intended not to appropriate any public money for the procurement of driver’s license cards. Thus, GAA 2016 did not allocate a single centavo for procurement of LTO-Driver’s License Cards,” it added.

Bertiz then urged the SC to stop the implementation of the project, “which includes the sale and conveyance of driver’s license cards and the collection of money” from motor vehicle and motorcycle drivers/owners and “disbursing and using public funds for the payment of suppliers.”

Named respondents to the petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, National Treasurer Rosalia De Leon, Commission on Audit Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo and LTO chief Edgar Galvante.

The petition stemmed from the awarding of the procurement of 8,360,000 pieces of driver’s license cards to NEXTIX, Dermalog Identification Systems, and CFP Strategic Transaction Advisors Joint Venture, which placed a bid of P829,668,053.55.

Two other contractors participated in the bidding for the project, namely, the Kolonwel and AT Pura joint venture and Banner Plasticard Inc., which posted a bid of P814.32 million and P750 million, respectively.

Bertiz’s petition came six months after the Anti-Trapo Movement (ATM) of the Philippines, Inc., an anti-corruption watchdog, asked the high court in May to scrap the project, alleging it was contracted out to the Dermalog, CFP and NEXTIX joint venture “in clear violation of existing procurement laws.” (MNS)

Jul 082017
SC: Unjustified fears, past experience should not cloud martial law significance

(Supreme Court of the Philippines} MANILA, July 6 (Mabuhay) –Supreme Court justices believe fears and apprehensions stemming from the nation’s traumatic experience during the Marcos years should not dilute the significance of the imposition of martial law for the promotion of public safety. Affirming President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao aimed at crushing ISIS-inspired militants, the SC said the 1987 Constitution placed several safeguards to prevent possible abuses of the commander-in-chief’s powers. “Not only were the grounds limited to actual invasion or rebellion, but its duration was likewise fixed at 60 days, unless sooner revoked, nullified, or extended; at the same time, it is subject to the veto powers of the Court and Congress,” the July 4 decision stated. While the imposition of martial law would create apprehensions among the public, the SC said the “importance of martial law in the context of our society should outweigh one’s prejudices and apprehensions against it.” “The significance of martial law should not be undermined by unjustified fears and past experience,” the SC said. “After all, martial law is critical and crucial to the promotion of public safety, the preservation of the nation’s sovereignty and ultimately, the survival of our country.” It also added that martial law “is vital for the protection of the country not only against internal enemies but also against those enemies lurking from beyond our shores. As such, martial law should not be cast aside, or its scope and potency limited and unsubstantiated assumptions.” The late President Read More …

Apr 052017

Last week, I summarized the first two installments covering the definition of “capital” for the purpose of determining the nationality of a company engaged in partly nationalized activities. This week, I will cover the third (and, I hope, final) installment on the matter. You may recall from last week’s column that some confusion arose due to seemingly different conclusions laid down by the Supreme Court (SC) in a 2011 decision against a 2012 resolution, as well as a Memorandum Circular which was issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2013 based on that same SC case (the Gamboa case).

Oct 072015

The recent Supreme Court (SC) case on the timing of withholding tax on compensation income has caused quite a stir among corporate taxpayers. While the case dealt with a deficiency withholding tax assessment on unsubstantiated business expenses (representation, travel and entertainment), the SC also ruled on the subject of withholding tax on accrued bonuses based on the taxpayer’s earlier claim that the amount in question refers to bonuses accrued during the years 1996 and 1997 but paid out in 1997 and 1998.