EO 62 still in effect without TRO from SC, says OSG

EO 62 still in effect without TRO from SC says OSG
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Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra —Inquirer file photo/Marianne Bermudez

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MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court en banc has ordered President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and three other government officials to respond to the petition for certiorari filed last week by farmers’ groups seeking to stop the implementation of an executive order (EO) reducing the tariff on rice and other agricultural products to 15 percent from 35 percent.

“The Court, without giving due course to the petition and prayer for a [temporary restraining order, or TRO], required the respondents to file their comments within a nonextendible period of 10 days,” Supreme Court spokesperson Camille Ting said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

READ: Supreme Court asked to nullify EO 62 lowering tariffs on agri products

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Reacting to the high tribunal’s resolution, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said that in the absence of a TRO, Executive Order No. 62 would continue to be implemented.

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Aside from President Marcos, the respondents in the case are Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, and Tariff Commission Chair Marilou Mendoza.

Petitioners’ concern

Marcos issued EO 62 on June 20 reducing the tariff on rice and other products from 35 percent to 15 percent—a move that raised concern among farmers and agricultural groups that consumers might opt for cheaper imported rice over local produce.

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“The implementation of an updated comprehensive tariff schedule aims to augment supply, manage prices, and temper inflationary pressure of various commodities, consistent with the Philippine national interest and the objective of safeguarding the purchasing power of Filipinos,” the President said in his order.

Review ongoing

According to Guevarra, the government already received a copy of the petition filed by the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura Inc., Federation of Free Farmers Inc., United Broiler Raisers Association Inc., Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative, and lawyer Argel Joseph Cabatbat of Magsasaka Partylist on June 4.

However, his office has yet to get a copy of the Supreme Court resolution requiring the government to comment on the case.

“Be that as it may, the [Office of the Solicitor General] is presently studying the legal issues involved,” Guevarra told reporters in a Viber message.

“We do not know whether the SC will issue a TRO or not in the days to come. I suppose the SC justices are also presently evaluating whether any injunctive relief is necessary. As far as the government is concerned, however, the EO will be implemented unless temporarily restrained by the SC,” he said.



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In their 27-page petition, the groups asked the high tribunal to declare EO 62 as null, void, and unconstitutional, saying that it was “hastily issued” and violated the requirement of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act to conduct an investigation and public hearings on the matter.

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