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Noy vetoes bill for internally displaced persons

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has vetoed the proposed Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Act of 2013, saying at least four of its provisions are questionable.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte furnished Palace reporters a copy of Aquino’s letter to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, justifying his refusal to sign the measure into law. 

Valte said the President cited the provision on damages, which “unlawfully differentiates between displacements caused by security agents of the state and other entities.”

She said the provision granting the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) the authority to determine “damages” incurred against internally displaced persons and facilitate the award of such claims also goes against the Constitution, since it is an authority vested “exclusively” in the courts.

Valte said the President noted that the proposed additional powers of the CHR “exceed those which the Constitution intended to give.” 

She said the provision allowing displaced persons to claim financial assistance and compensation from the government “opens the door to a slew of claims or cases against the government, and goes against the non-suability character of the state.”

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On Tuesday, Malacañang said the President also vetoed a bill that would have given a 75 percent discount to centenarians in restaurants and other business establishments. 

Valte said the 75 percent discount is “way beyond the profit margins of the retail providers of business establishments.” 

She said the proposed measure did not also provide tax credit for participating establishments. 

She said Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares had rejected the bill, noting the discount “may be too heavy without a tax deduction on the part of the establishment.”

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