The burden of sin: A study on the constitutionality of the Sin Tax Reform Law of 2012

Date of Publication


Document Type

Bachelor's Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Legal Management

Subject Categories

Tax Law


Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business


Commercial Law

Thesis Adviser

Erickson H. Balmes

Defense Panel Chair

Antonio A. Ligon

Defense Panel Member

Rene B. Betita
Arvin A. Jo


This research aims to determine the constitutionality of Section 5 of Republic Act 10351, or the Sin Tax Reform Law of 2012. The questioned provision, which restructured the tax system for cigarettes, enforces a unitary rate on all cigarettes packed by machine regardless of retail prices or inherent quality. It is hypothesized that this structure inevitably puts smaller cigarette manufacturing firms at a disadvantage, as their products will be taxed at the same level as their larger market rivals. It is presented that this single-tier rate violates (1) substantive due process, (2) the equal protection clause, (3) the Constitutional requirements of a progressive tax system, and (4) the mandate of providing all sectors of the economy with optimum opportunities to develop.

It became clear that the unitary tax resulted from the state balancing the interests of the tobacco industry on one hand, and its inherent responsibility to promote public health and welfare on the other.

Both the viewpoints of the state and of the tobacco industry we adopted. The law was also studies both on its letter and on the effects it brought about to society and the national economy.

It was concluded that the unitary tax is constitutional in spite of the negative effects it has in operation. The benefits of a single-tier excise tax-- simpler tax administration, larger revenues, and reduced tobacco use-- effectively outweigh its costs. However, noting the limited effectiveness of taxation in fully controlling consumption, it is recommended that the state employ other means of tobacco control. It must also strive to uplift the living conditions of those adversely affected by the increased burden, such as tobacco farmers.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F, Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

ii, 105, xviii leaves, 28 cm.


Unitary taxation--Philippines; Cigarettes--Taxation--Law and legislation--Philippines

Embargo Period


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