Drilon replaces Recto in Senate ways and means

Posted at 10/16/12 5:59 PM

Recto no show at caucus

MANILA - Senator Franklin Drilon will sit as acting chairman of the committee on ways and means after it was vacated by Senator Ralph Recto on Monday.

Recto himself was a no show at the Senate caucus today, which went for more than an hour.

Recto said early Tuesday he will stand by his resignation to give the new chairman of the committee the chance to prepare a committee report on the sin tax reform bill.

Critics labeled it a "Recto Morris" committee report, saying it bowed to the wishes of cigarette firm, Philip Morris.

Recto was forced to resign following criticisms on his supposedly watered-down sin tax measure. Even the Palace expressed disappointment over his version, which was too different from what was proposed by the departments of Health and Finance.

He also withdrew his version of the measure.

For Drilon, however, Recto’s version can still be used. He said they don’t need to start from scratch.

“It can be the basis for the debates. In the period of amendments, the amendments can be introduced. In fact, if you look at the report, I indicated in my signature that I will amend because my agreement with Senator Recto is that even if I did not agree with his conclusion and his rates, we agreed that the vice chairman of the committee will submit to the floor the amendments at the appropriate time,” he said.

He said the withdrawal of the report will still need the concurrence of the committee.

“I think the public interest will dictate that we maintain the committee report, and we debate on it and at the appropriate time, we submit the amendments. We do not have to start from scratch,” he said. - with a report from Ruby Tayag, dzMM; Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News