• Duterte to pursue tax case vs Inquirer owners

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    President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday vowed to deal harshly with the owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) whom he accused of not paying billions in taxes.

    In a news conference, the President said the government will reclaim the state-owned prime Makati property called the Creekside/Mile Long complex from the Rufino/Prieto family.

    “I will recover the property for the Filipinos. Everybody who has a tax obligation must start to talk now. Within six months time, I will go after them. I will get back. Inquirer, you have to let go of that property. It is not yours,” Duterte said.

    “‘Yung mga crusaders na mga newspaper, bakit sila corrupt rin? (Those crusading newspapers, why are they also corrupt?) Answer me. That Mile Long. Who owns it? Rufino. Who is Rufino? He is married to Prieto… I assure you, after all of these things here, I will start to recover what is government’s property, including that Inquirer. The loudest, one of the loudest of it all. Crusader kuno, ‘yun pala crony rin (It acts like a crusader, but it is after all a crony),” he added.

    Duterte’s statement came a few days after former Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao, a columnist of The Manila Times, revealed Rufino/Priesto’s “unpaid rentals” on the Mile Long complex.

    “If government’s claims are valid, and its figures accurate, the Rufino/Prietos’ liabilities through their firm Sunvar Realty and Development Corp. would be this P1.8 billion, plus the P1.5 billion alleged tax evasion by another firm they own, Dunkin’ Donuts. That would total nearly P3 billion, putting them in the league of Chinese-Filipino tycoons notorious for being tax evaders,” Tiglao said.

    “No wonder President Duterte himself angrily said in a recent speech that he will investigate the case, which was reported to him as having been a ‘sweetheart deal’ when it was leased by a state firm to the Rufino/Prietos’ firm Sunvar Realty Development Corp,” he added.

    Tiglao said the property “was originally leased to the Prieto firm in 1980 and 1983, allegedly at a scandalously low rental by the Technology Resource Center Foundation, controlled at the time by Imelda Marcos. The lease expired in 2002, although the Prietos continued to control the property as if nothing happened, and refused to vacate it.”

    The Prietos also own Golden Donuts Inc., the exclusive Philippine franchisee of the international brand Dunkin’ Donuts.

    Duterte earlier said the donut business of the Prietos also did not pay proper taxes.

    The President also threatened to block the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN for alleged “swindling.”

    He claimed that the network did not show his political ads during the 2016 campaign period although his team had paid for the air time.

    “[The franchise] has been there for 25 years. The law said it’s okay, only if you adhere to journalistic standards.
    What did you do to us? Estafa, swindling, not only me but Chiz Escudero, many of us. Son of a bitch, you collected outright then you commit estafa,” Duterte said.

    “So I will file a complaint. Congress, no need to renew it. But to operate is something else, so I will point this out, your garbage, then we’ll see,” he added.

    Asked if he would “block” the franchise of ABS-CBN, which expires in 2020, Duterte said, “Yes, if you’re engaged in swindling.”

    House Bill 4349, which seeks to renew the franchise granted to ABS-CBN for 25 years, is still at the committee level.

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    7 Comments

    1. Leopoldo Mayo on

      Big question: Paano nadribol ng Philippine Daily Inquirer ang bilyones na tax liability nito for the Mile-Long government property in Makati City at paano hindi na-execute ang legitimate repossession order ng gobyerno hanggang ngayon? The reason, it has become very clear now, is apparently the same reason why the paper is propping Sen. Leila de Lima in issue after issue after issue as a human rights icon and persecuted heroine even now that she is in detention after her criminal indictment for alleged collusion with drug lords at the National Penitentiary. As Secretary of Justice for six years until 2015, De Lima controlled the courts hearing the Sunvar tax evasion case at all levels and, in league with the top brass of the BIR at the time, had put the repossession order for the Mile-Long government property on permanent hold. This is why the Rufinos and Prietos have been in continuous possession of the property for over 36 years now under a “sweetheart deal” for which it paid only a paltry, inconsequential sum. In short, for the Inquirer owners and publisher, it’s payback time for the huge and invaluable favors De Lima had showered them when she was Secretary of Justice.

      • De Lima was a puppet for Aquino just like every appointee of every agency in the country.
        They only do what they are allowed and or told to do by the president.

        De Lima did not charge the liberal party for stealing the pork barrel funds and they stole billions.

        Just like the Ombudsman, protect the liberal party and never charge or convict them.

        De Lima was elected to the senate for the fine job of protecting the liberal party.
        or did she?
        Who knows, It’s not like a forensic investigation was conducted after smartmatic tampered with the system while the election was in progress. All that happened was Comelec denied any cheating then allowed everyone to leave the country and started their clean up of the evidence.

        A year later the supreme court issues a statement that Marco’s has to pay P66 million for a recount.

        Most of the pork barrel thieves got reelected as well.

        Amazing

        The people get the government they deserve,

        Enjoy

    2. AdobongPenoy on

      Stopping critics by eliminating them only shows how coward President Duterte is. The president does not seem to know that ABS-CBN employs over 10,000 Filipinos here and abroad. Some of the country’s highest tax payers are either executives or contract artists of ABS-CBN. The company itself contributes over 41 billion pesos annually to our local economy. This will surely backfire to him since ABS-CBN have been known to amass millions of strong fans not only in the country but also abroad, our fellow OFWs who rely to ABS-CBN as their primary source of news and entertainment abroad.

    3. With a big corporation it can be quite hard to prove something as there are many technicalities. Well there is a senator manny pacquiao, a national hero who every filipino loves & adores, yet he is accused of huge tax non payment. What about that, i havent heard you say anything on that. The people love him yet he keeps his taxes for himself so he can live a luxurious life in big houses everywhere so what say you now mr president. Lets hear you threaten him, but i very much doubt it. & where are all these news paper writers in the manila times, why dont they mention this, could it be they are scared of both manny & the president.

    4. dating magna-nakaw on

      PDU30 should remind his homeboy, Manny Paquiao to pay the P2.2 Billion he owed the government as well, just to prove that friendship ends when cheating the Filipino people begins. Pacquiao should be reminded that his back taxes are for the years 2008 and 2009, and they are long overdue. If the BIR will charge him late penalty of modest 6% compounded interest rate from 2010 to 2017, Pacquiao might shit on his pants.

      The political AD, was paid in full, for DO30 and Escudero, but the PDI failed to show? was it done on purpose? Ordinary and not so well educated people like myself, can put two and two together and might come up with an answer. If the owners of PDI are Marcos’ cronies, the reason for not publishing Esudero’s AD was, he was running for the same position as BBM. As to DU30, only the PDI knows.

    5. That would total nearly P3 billion, putting them in the league of Chinese-Filipino tycoons notorious for being tax evaders,
      —————————-

      Senator Pacquiao owes 2,2 billion over a tax evasion case from 2008. Lets see what kind of deal the senator can arrange so he doesn’t have to pay the full amount of what he owes.

    6. Within six months time.
      ————————————————-

      Every time Duterte says something will take six months he is proven wrong.
      Why wait 6 months ?

      Why does the government wait years while tax cheats to refuse to pay ?

      Well since Duterte has some free time what about firing and arresting NFA Chief Aquino over his corruption scam with Seabridge.

      A whiff of corruption and you’re gone is what Duterte said, Lets see that or does he need six months to think about it ?