Joker explains why he voted no to Sin tax bill

SENATOR Joker Arroyoexplained that he voted against the passage of the controversial Sin Tax bill because there is no clear distribution and allocation of the P40 billion projected revenues.

“Ayaw ko lang diyan, iyong lokohan na sabihin mo diretso kung ano talaga ito. I have voted for that 100 percent if it is a health measure. Ngayon, kung hindi maliwanag, I don’t want to vote on that. This bill is lump sum appropriations kasi walang klaro, panay percentages, walang amount and formulas,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo, one of the two senators who voted against the measure last week, said that when a caucus was held after Senator Ralph Recto resigned as Senate ways and means chairman, Cabinet members convinced them to pass the bill for health reasons.

“Ang presentation sa amin ng proponents’ ng bill is for health reasons. Paano mo makokontra iyon, kung for health reasons, meaning most of the money will be used to curb cigarette and alcohol addiction and to minimize smoking and drinking, eh di mabuti,” Arroyo said.

However, Arroyo said after the caucus, it was unclear in the interpellations where to use the P40 billion projected revenues being pushed by the administration.

“Unclear ang distribution on how they will spent kaya kapag nakalagay na yan sa National Treasury, parang lump sum, ang daming lump sum sa budget,” he said.

He said that if the bill specifically identified where a particular amount from the P40 billion will be used, he will vote in favor of the measure, but not what was presented in the final version crafted by Senator Franklin Drilon.

“Boboto ako (sana) ng 100 percent. Dapat specifics, dahil iyon ang sinabi sa amin eh. Kaya nga naipasa at kaya nga nag-caucus kami nandoon si Secretary Ona, why because this is a health measure,” Arroyo explained.

Arroyo believed that finance and revenue official did not specifically identified where the particular amounts are to be used because the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) cannot collect the projected revenues.

“Kung hindi ilalagay ang specifics appropriations, meaning hindi nila makokolekta yan ng internal revenue, kung hindi ilalagay iyon, hindi nila kayang kolektahin iyon,” he said.

“Percent will be given to what, percent to be given for what? Eh P40 billion yan, lalagyan mo ng percentage,” Arroyo

He said when formulas and percentages were put into a particular bill; it cannot pursue its goals. “Alam mo, kung nilagyan ng formula ang bill, goodbye na.”

“Dapat may specifics na sinasabi na ganito, ganito, ganito, but to curb cigarette and alcohol addiction medyo maliit na. Akala namin in the beginning P40 billion, Dapat sabihin nila nang direktahan kung talagang gusto matodas ang paninigarilyo at pag-iinom, maliwanag,” he said.

“Ayaw ko sanang pag-usapan yan, but you asked me, I was disposed to vote for it. Nandoon pa si Secretary Ona, yon pala, incidental players lamang sila doon. He did not push for absolute figure,” he added.

He also feared that when the government collected P40 billion projected revenues, no one knows what will happen to the funds.

“Alam mo ang pera kapag nakapasok na sa gobyerno, di mo na alam kung saan gagamitin,” he concluded.

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