Concerned citizens filed a graft complaint against former President Benigno Aquino 3rd, former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and several others for their alleged failure to collect P100 billion in taxes from a petroleum firm for its gasoline importations.
Also charged at the Office of the Ombudsman were Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC) Chairman and President Edgar Chua, former Vice President for Communications Robert Kanapi and former Country Tax Manager Nigel Avila.
“As public officers and in connivance with PSPC and its officers, the collective inaction, non-enforcement of laws to stop further smuggling by respondents constitute an implied consent to the acts of smuggling committed by PSPC and its officers, and allowed PSPC to have an unwarranted continuous usage of government revenue for PSPC’s own benefits, and causing undue injury to the government in particular and the Filipino people in general,” Lourdes Aclan, Napoleon Morales, and Juan Tan alleged in their complaint.
The complainants claimed that PSPC misclassified its gasoline importations and refused to pay the proper excise tax and value-added tax (VAT) which was tantamount to smuggling.
The complainants added that Aquino may be held liable under Section 10 of R.A. 9851, in relation to Executive Order 226 under the concept of command responsibility.
“The former President and DOF Secretary were properly apprised of the irregularities being committed by their subordinates in not aggressively pursuing the collection of the taxes due on PSPC’s importations of CCG [Catalytic Cracked Gasoline], LCCG [Light Catalytic Cracked Gasoline] and Alkylate, but failed to act on said controversy even after the last days of his presidency…,” they said.
The claimed that PSPC paid excise tax and VAT for its gas importations which it declared as CCG and LCCG under the tariff classification “unleaded gasoline” from 2001 to February 2004.
The firm later changed tariff classification to “tetrapropylene” which was not subject to excise tax and VAT on the excise tax, and from “exclusively for sale” to a “blending component.”
The complainants alleged that the company “evaded payment of taxes for all its shipments of CCG and LCCG from March 2004 up to 2009.”
Tan, who was the Bureau of Customs’ district collector at the Port of Batangas in 2009, found out about the matter and demanded the payment of P7.3 billion.
Aclan said he raised the matter with Aquino through a letter but the President ignored him.