FORMER Customs Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales, former Port of Batangas Collector Juan N. Tan and Batangas-based media person Lourdes M. Aclan may be charged with four counts of perjury, a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment, for lying under oath.
Morales, Tan, and Aclan are the subjects of a criminal complaint filed by former Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC) executives Nigel T. Avila, Roberto S. Kanapi and Edgar O. Chua last January 4, 2017 at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.
In their 18-page complaint, the former PSPC executives claim that the respondents “willfully made blatant false statements” in accusing them of illegal importation and violation of Republic Act 3019, or the Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, in a complaint filed with the Ombudsman last September 14, 2016.
Morales, Tan and Aclan named the former PSPC executives in relation to Shell’s alleged non-payment of taxes for its past importations of gasoline. They also named former President Benigno Aquino 3rd and former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima in their graft complaint for allegedly allowing PSPC not to pay the correct taxes.
The former Shell executives, however, point out that the respondents did not submit any proof to support their allegations, which they describe as “all perjuries, outright lies and patently untrue.”
For instance, they noted that former President Aquino and Secretary Purisima could not have taken any action on the case as said case was filed at the Court of Tax Appeals in February 2010, or four months before the election and assumption of office of Aquino and Purisima, the former PSPC executives said.
In their affidavit, they said that Shell dutifully complied with the prevailing rules and regulations, promulgated by the Bureau of Internal Revenue from 2003-2009 which Morales and Tan themselves implemented, being tax collecting agents of the BIR.
They claim that Morales and Tan appeared to have changed and made their own interpretation of the rules in insisting that double excise taxes be imposed on PSPC’s importations, and retroactively at that.
The former Shell officials also emphasize the convenient omission by the respondents in not telling the Ombudsman about the subsequent collection efforts that respondent Tan himself pursued against PSPC.
This dragged the issue to the Court of Tax Appeals and eventually, the Supreme Court.
“One can only guess at the motives of Morales, Tan and Aclan in filing this case and committing perjury in the process,” they said.