A known private contractor and a couple who all do business with the Department of Education (DepEd) may be invited soon by the House Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability to answer allegations that they have not been paying hundreds of millions in taxes for the past several years despite cornering projects of the department worth billions over the years.
House committee member Rep. Ben Evardone said they would invite Alfredo Domingo Madamba F. Jr., a private contractor, and Bethel and Jess Garcia, owners of Merryland Publishing Corp., to answer before the committee the charges leveled against them.
“These contractors are said to have cornered billions worth of projects by supplying books and computers to DepEd during the past administration, yet they have not been paying their taxes based on documents we obtained from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR),” the congressman from Eastern Samar noted.
Based on a computer printout from the BIR, Merryland, which was established in 1999, paid only P53,871 in income tax in 2013.
No other tax payments made by the company before 2013 were reflected on BIR records, despite the reported over a billion pesos in textbooks sales that the company made, including the P700-million worth of overpriced computers delivered to DepEd between 2008 and 2010.
The overpricing case is pending before the Sandiganbayan but it is reportedly just collecting dust in a division of the anti-graft court.
Even the individual income tax record of Merryland’s owner and chief executive officer, Bethel G. Garcia, shows that she paid only P6,000 in taxes in 2008 and only P7,000 in 2009 despite her company’s billion pesos’ worth of textbook and computer deliveries to DepEd Regions 6 and 11 during those two years.
Another BIR computer printout shows that Miss Garcia had two tax cases (numbers 041022348964 and 041020523646) for tax fraud that were filed against her on April 30 and October 31, 2007.
Merryland’s lawyer Gally Angeles refused to make any comment while waiting for income tax documents of the company and that of Mrs. Garcia from the owner herself.
Meanwhile, despite owning a 800 sq. m house and lot in the upscale Loyola Grand Villas in Quezon Ciry, a 6-story building along Katipunan Avenue also in Quezon City and a condominium unit in Serendra Place in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City (also in Metro Manila), Alfredo Domingo F. Madamba Jr., a private contractor of DepEd, paid only P40,900 in taxes in 2013.
BIR documents obtained by Evardone show that Madamba, who is popularly known as “Bingo” to his friends at DepEd, also owes the BIR P2,659,600 in taxes in 2009.
He also did not pay P255,770 in taxes in 2012 for reasons still unknown to BIR, which definitely wants to collect both amounts from him in the years that he did not file his ITRs starting in 2006 until 2009 despite his reported whopping commission of nearly P500 million in that period.
Madamba refused for several days now to answer our calls for an interview to get his side.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon wants Madamba and Garcia, and the rest of the unscrupulous DepEd contractors charged with plunder for stealing hundreds of millions of government funds.
“We could have already given every student in the country the textbooks that they need, and perhaps each classroom [would have been]equipped with a computer by now if these funds were just spent properly,”Ridon said.
He, however, explained that suppliers and contractors overprice their books and computers to pay for hefty kickbacks and commissions of DepEd officials and make very huge profits for themselves.
Ridon said this practice is a reason why there are still shortages of classrooms and textbooks in public schools and also why teachers there are getting meager wages.
Pnoy should go after these crooked suppliers next to show that he really walks his talk on the matuwid na daan (straight path) mantra of his administration!