GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 March) – Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has employed a team of high-profile lawyers to look into the possibility of filing charges against a regional director of the Bureau of Internal Revenue who earlier slapped him with violation of Article 266 of the National Internal Revenue Code, which could mean an imprisonment of two years and fines not exceeding P10,000 for the lawmaker cum boxing champion.
“The legal team led by former justice (secretary Artemio) Tuquero will study (the possibility),” said lawyer Franklin Gacal Jr, Pacquiao’s congressional chief of staff, through a text message.
Pacquiao held a press conference Monday to decry alleged harassment by BIR officials.
BIR Region 18 director Atty. Rozil Lozares earlier filed criminal charges against Pacquiao for his alleged failure “to obey summons” when the regional tax chief subpoenaed the congressman’s book of accounts and copies of his fight as well as all endorsement contracts.
“Itinataya ko po ang aking buhay sa loob ng (I risked my life inside the) ring… but in just one instance, the BIR has tarnished my name by filing this case against me,” Pacquiao complained during the press conference.
He dismissed the case filed by the BIR against him as “plain and simple harassment.”
Pacquiao said he did not “personally receive” the BIR summons, which, according to his other lawyer Abraham Espejo ( no relation to the reporter), was a violation of the bureau’s own Memorandum Circular No. 88-2010.
But Lozares, who clarified that they have not yet filed any tax evasion case against the congressman, said he was only doing his job.
“All we wanted were his book of accounts and copies of all his contracts from which we can come out with a fair assessment of his income tax liabilities to the government,” he explained.
He denied Pacquiao is being singled because of his past association with former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Meanwhile, Lozares reiterated that all income of the eight-time world boxing champion, whether earned in the Philippines or abroad, shall be subject to taxes.
“If Manny already paid taxes for his incomes in the US, all he had to do is show receipt or any proof of payment,” he said.
He said Pacquiao could get tax credit for taxes paid to the US government and this will be deducted from his tax assessment.
The official however said neither Pacquiao nor any of his representatives has presented documents to the BIR despite repeated requests.
For his part, Pacquiao said he will fight all accusations hurled against him “till the end” even though he will jump into serious training beginning this week.
Pacquiao is slated to defend his International Boxing Organization welterweight title against American Timothy Bradley on June 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews)