MALACAÑANG reassured senior citizens Saturday that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not veto a measure exempting them from value-added tax (VAT) on goods and services, amid speculation she will veto it.

Deputy presidential spokesman Ricardo Saludo at the same time appealed to Arroyo’s critics not to spread speculation that the President will eventually veto the measure.

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“The Palace already made it clear the President will not veto the measure. Let us not scare senior citizens into thinking she will veto it,” Saludo said over radio interview.

He admitted though that he is not aware if the measure has been formally submitted to Arroyo for signing.

“We’re two weeks away from adjournment of Congress. The bill will be submitted to Mrs. Arroyo, it’s just a matter of days,” he said.

Still, he scored some sectors for claiming that Arroyo will veto the measure. “They are trying to get votes at other people’s expense.”

According to Saludo, the President is not likely to accommodate the finance department’s appeal to reconsider her decision to sign the measure.

The government stands to lose some P1 billion a year from the VAT exemption.

But Saludo said the amount is much less than one percent of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s annual target revenues of P600 billion.

A congressional bicameral conference committee ratified earlier this year the proposed “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010” seeking to exempt senior citizens from the 12-percent VAT in their purchase of medicines and services. (JMR/Sunnex)