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Zarate accuses DBM chief of blackmailing Congress

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate has accused Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno of “blackmailing” members of Congress “by dangling a supplemental budget” in exchange for the passage of the proposed Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-quality Opportunities (TRABAHO) bill.

Zarate issued the statement following Diokno’s disclosure of a possibility for the executive to submit a supplemental budget if Congress passes all the remaining tax reform packages like the TRABAHO bill, previously knowned as “TRAIN 2” bill.

“He (Diokno) is practically blackmailing members of Congress into agreeing with the anti-people tax measures like TRAIN 2, which would again prove to be burdensome to our already over-taxed people,” said Zarate.

Zarate stressed the supplemental budget being dangled by Diokno is supposed to compensate for the proposed budgetary cuts of some agencies next year that members of the House of Representatives recently objected to.

“Hindi pa nga nakakarekober ang mga consumer sa pagtaas ng mga bilihin dahil sa TRAIN 1 ay gusto nilang ipasa na agad ang TRAIN 2. Kung titignang mabuti, mahigit doble pa ang itataas ng mga bilihin sa 2019 kapag hindi naibasura ang TRAIN 1 at ipinatupad din ang TRAIN 2,” said Zarate

The militant solon urged his colleagues in the Lower House “not be blackmailed or bullied” by the economic managers of the Duterte administration.