A Philippine professional basketball player was acquitted in a P9.5 million tax evasion case.
The Court of Tax Appeals’s (CTA) First Division said the prosecution failed to prove Pauliasi Taulava’s guilt “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Taulava was charged before the CTA with violation of Section 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1997 in an amended charge sheet dated September 13, 2013 for allegedly failing to pay his deficiency income and value added taxes in 2004.
“The prosecution, however, was not able to successfully establish that the accused was served with the Formal Letter of Demand and Assessment Notices (all dated January 5, 2009), which required accused to pay the deficiency income tax and VAT, including increments, in the amounts of P7,244,387.51 and P2,307,728.63, respectively,” the court said in part in a 41-page decision promulgated on November 3 but released to media on Thursday.
“Thus, the legal obligation of the accused to pay the said taxes did not arise. Correspondingly, the first element of the crime, i.e., that the accused is required to pay the taxes under the NIRC of 1997, is not present,” it said.
“Wherefore, in light of the foregoing considerations, accused Pauliasi Mateaki Taulava is hereby acquitted for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt,” the court said.
It canceled the cash bond in the amount of P24,000 which Taulava posted for his provisional liberty.
Associate Justice Erlinda Uy penned the ruling, which was concurred in by CTA Presiding Justice Roman del Rosario and by Associate Justice Cielito Mindaro-Grulla.
The Filipino-Tongan is currently with the NLEX Road Warriors and is the oldest active player in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).