By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.
MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) — Voting unanimously, the Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 9335, otherwise known as the “Attrition Act of 2005”.
R.A. 9335 was enacted to optimize the revenue-generation capability and collection of both the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
It also intends to encourage BIR and BOC officials and employees to exceed their revenue targets by providing a system of rewards and sanctions through the creation of a Rewards and Incentives Fund and a Revenue Performance Evaluation Board and covers all BIR and BOC officials with at least six months of service, regardless of employment status.
In a 24-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr., the SC dismissed for lack of merit the petition for certiorari and prohibition of the Bureau of Customs Employees Association (BOCEA).
“It must be noted that this is not the first time the constitutionality of R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR are being challenged. The Court already settled the majority of the same issues raised by BOCEA in our decision in Abakada, which attained finality on September 17, 2008. As such, our ruling therein is worthy of reiteration in this case,” the SC said.
The SC said that R.A. 9335, “read and appreciated in its entirety, is complete in all its essential terms and conditions, and that it contains sufficient standards as to negate BOCEA’s supposition of undue delegation of legislative power to the Board.”
On the argument that R.A. 9335 violates the equal protection clause, the SC reiterated its jurisprudence in Abakada where it said: “With respect to R.A. 9335, its expressed public policy is the optimization of the revenue-generation capability and collection of the BIR and the BOC. Since the subject of the law is the revenue-generation capability and collection of the BIR and the BOC, the incentives and/or sanctions provided in the law should logically pertain to the said agencies….Both the BIR and the BOC are bureaus under the [Department of Finance] DOF. They principally perform the special function of being the instrumentalities through which the State exercises one of its great inherent functions – taxation. Indubitably, such substantial distinction is germane and intimately related to the purpose of the law. Hence, the classification and treatment accorded to the BIR and the BOC under R.A. 9335 fully satisfy the demands of equal protection.”