• Oral tussle over vetoed elderly bill simmers

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    Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay province has rebuffed Sen. Francis Pangilinan over the vetoing of the Centenarians bill, insisting that it was Pangilinan who doomed the bill by being remiss with his duties.

    The Centenarians bill—a measure Lagman and Pangilinan crafted—provides a P100,000 cash gift to centenarians as well as other benefits such as 75 percent discount on sales of goods and services to centenarians without providing for any tax credit or deduction for establishments to recoup the huge discount.

    It was Pangilinan who inserted the 75 percent discount provision in the bill, according to the Albay lawmaker. Lagman’s version, on the other hand, provided only for a 50 percent discount and with tax credit or deductions in favor of participating establishments pursuant to the various Senior Citizens laws.

    “Pangilinan has compounded his problem by alleging that I asked him to file a counterpart bill. This alibi is belied by the records because in a letter dated November 5, 2012, I earnestly requested him to facilitate consideration of the centenarian bill by the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development which he headed, jointly with the Senate Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Sen. Franklin Drilon,” Lagman said.

    Instead of acting directly on the House bill, Lagman said Pangilinan filed his copycat version which     was approved before the adjournment of Congress for the last electoral campaign.

    “It is pitiful for Pangilinan to say I have flip-flopped after the President’s veto when in fact what I said was that had the original House version been adopted by the Senate, the Centenarian bill could now have been a law because the President did not object to the P100,000 cash gift and the more reasonable benefits provided in my version,” Lagman said in closing.

    Pangilinan for his part criticized Lagman for “name-calling” and “flip-flopping” and claimed that the latter agreed to the proposals and it was he who requested that “I file a counterpart bill in the Senate.

    “It is on record. Now with this veto he flip-flops, does a 180-degree turn, and resorts to name-calling and finger pointing. What a shame. I expected better from a seasoned legislator. His actuation is saddening and pitiful,” Pangilinan said.

    According to the President’s veto letter, “the 75-percent discount exceeds the usual mark-up rate of most businesses and will obliterate profit margins and result in capital loss because the proposed measure does not provide for a tax deduction to recover the said discount.”

    “We should be able to hold politicians to their word, but sadly that’s not the case with Edcel,” added Pangilinan.

    Llanesca T. Panti And Jefferson Antiporda

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