Supreme Court ruling on IRA hailed

It looks like the country’s local government units (LGUs) are now rejoicing after the Supreme Court (SC) decided with finality their rights to shares in all government revenue collections, including the Bureau of Customs among others, Rep. Jose Enriquez Garcia III (2nd District, Bataan) said Saturday.

In a landmark decision, the SC voted 10-3 in an en banc session last July 3 to grant the consolidated petitions filed by the late Bataan Governor and 2nd District Congressman Enrique “Tet” Garcia Jr. and Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas.

The original petition filed by “Tet” Garcia back in August 2013 argued that LGUs have a right in just shares not only in national internal revenue taxes but in all national taxes as enshrined in Section 6, Article X of the Philippine Constitution.

In the original petition, Tet Garcia said the grave mistake happened when Congress enacted a provision (Section 284) in in the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991, which states that the “local government units shall have a share in the national internal revenue taxes based on the collection of the third fiscal year preceding the current fiscal year xxx,”

“Congress clearly committed an unconstitutional act when it changed the basis in determining the share of the LGUs from “national taxes” to national internal revenue taxes” in the LGC, “ Tet Garcia said then.

The LGC is the implementing rules and regulations for LGUs and is the mandate of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The petitioner, a three-term Bataan governor and was then the Representative of Bataan’s 2nd District, said he had studied thoroughly and diligently the errors committed in implementing the LGC and decided to do something about it.

After careful evaluation, he arrived at the conclusion that the national government had committed, and is continuing to commit, a glaring, material error in the interpretation and/or implementation of the provision of the Constitution on the matter, which had resulted in a huge shortfall in the internal revenue allotment of the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays.

Now that Congressman Tet is gone, his son rep. Jose Enriquez Garcia III (2nd District, Bataan) served as his substitute in the petition.

Garcia III says this is not only a victory for the LGUs but also for the Filipino people since the delivery of public service will be greatly enhanced with the additional budget.

“My dad’s legacy will live on with victory, it is but proper for us his children to pay tribute to his achievements and remember him for his deeds not only for our beloved province but for the whole Philippine archipelago, he said.

For his part, current Bataan Governor and eldest son of Garcia Jr., Albert “Abet” S. Garcia is proud of the monumental development.

“Me and Rep. Garcia III made sure to continue the battle after my dad went to the great beyond. After all, this not a fight for our province but for the whole country. And it is for the best interest of Filipinos. Rendering of public service will now be more meaningful. The added funds can now be utilized in building more public infrastructure and improving major public services such as health, education, livelihood and peace and order,” the Bataan governor said. (PNA)