DOJ endorses anti-smuggling bills pending in House committee on ways & means

The Department of Justice has endorsed the six anti-smuggling bills pending in the House Committee on Ways and Means as these not only recognize the dire impact of unlawful importation upon the country’s economy and national interest but also seek to strengthen the anti-smuggling efforts of the government.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima endorsed the passage of House Bills 46, 114, 171, 572, 1694 and 3055 in a letter to committee chairman Rep. Hermilando Mandanas (2nd District, Batangas).

“As a whole, the bills not only acknowledge the effect of unlawful importation or smuggling upon the country’s economy and national interest, they also seek to further reinforce the anti-smuggling efforts of the government if only to arrest the problem which causes huge revenue losses resulting from the illegal entry of imported goods
into the local market,” said de Lima.

De Lima likewise noted that in effect, the bills also intend to promote good governance, public accountability and transparency, specifically in those government institutions involved in revenue collection.

De Lima further said the DOJ found no legal or constitutional objection to the enactment of the proposed anti-smuggling measures. She said on the contrary, the same appears to be in complete agreement with the Section 24 of Article 6 of the Constitution, the pertinent
portion of which states that “All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.”

De Lima said it must be stressed that, while original legislative authority is constitutionally vested in the people in whom sovereignty resides (Section 1 Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution), this power, which involves the authority to enact laws and to alter or repeal them (Government of the P.I. vs. Springer, 50 Phil. 259), has been
delegated to the legislature (Sec. 1. Art. 6 of the Constitution).

“In the exercise of same power, the legislature can enact any law as long as it is not opposed to the provisions of the Constitution,” she said.

Moreover, de Lima said as explicitly provided for in Sec. 24, the proposed legislations which, as in this case, concern revenue and tariff matters, among others, must exclusively originate in the House of Representatives, even though the Senate is not precluded from proposing amendments thereto.

Lastly, de Lima proposed the consolidation of the anti-smuggling bills not only because their aims are almost the same but more because the provisions of some of the bills overlap those of other proposals.

The six bills seek to strengthen the anti-smuggling mechanism of the government by amending certain provisions of Presidential Decree 1464, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended and for other purposes.

The bills were authored by the following: HB 46, Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximino Rodriguez (Abante Mindanao); HB 114, Rep. Pedro Romualdo (Lone District, Camiguin); HB 171, Rep. Eric Singson, Jr. (2nd District, Ilocos Sur); HB 572, Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara (Lone District, Aurora); HB 1694, Reps. Lorenzo
Tañada III (4th District, Quezon) and Nicanor Briones (AGAP); and HB 3055, Rep. Salvador Escudero III (1st District, Sorsogon). D’Jay Lazaro

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