• Free chopper ride only for Kris

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    EMETERIO SD. PEREZ

    EMETERIO SD. PEREZ

    AS I reported in the previous Duediligencer, Kris Aquino was No. 6 in the list of top taxpayers in 2012 that was posted on the website of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Ahead of her were Vivian Que Azcona in the No. 1 spot, who paid P131.434 million; Wilfredo Buendia Villame, No. 2, P63.902 million; lawyer Estelito P. Mendoza, No. 3, P56.595 million; Vicente Rafael Munoz Ayllon, No. 4, P52.307 million and Gerardo Baes Sebastian, No. 5, P47.9 million.

    Unluckily for Azcona and five other taxpayers including Mendoza, they did not merit a ride in a government helicopter. In other words, it pays to be a presidential sister to qualify for a free chopper ride.

    To save space, I am not citing BIR’s ranking of taxpayers in other years like I did in reporting about Kris’ tax payments from 2008 to 2014. The first paragraph here is enough to send a message to the members of the yellow tribe that they also deserve free chopper ride if they are in the BIR’s list of big taxpayers, and at the same time, happen to be sisters or brothers of the President.

    Not for Pacquiao
    Even businessman Jacinto L. Ng did not merit a chopper ride despite having paid P280.107 million as the No. 1 taxpayer for taxable year 2014. His son, Jacinto Co. Ng Jr., was also a big taxpayer in the same year at No. 5. His tax payment of P66.867 million even beat that of Kris’ P54.531 million, which brought him to the No. 6 spot.

    Despite their combined tax payments of P346.974 million, father and son did not merit a free chopper ride, courtesy of the government.

    Neither has Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao been invited by the outgoing President to hitch a ride in a government chopper despite his P210.306-million tax payment. He was even the No. 1 taxpayer in 2013 when he paid P163.842 million.

    Why then didn’t Pacquiao deserve even ONE free ride in a government chopper when he paid a total of P374.148 million for years 2013 and 2014? The answer is obvious: he is neither a presidential sister nor a presidential brother. Besides, he was not a member of the Liberal Party, which has long been the exclusive club of yellow candidates.

    With this Duediligencer I am concluding my piece on taxpayers, who are included in the list available at www.bir.gov.ph. This, however, does not mean that I will refrain from monitoring tax evasion and avoidance. I will still do, but will reserve for later my suggestions on how to increase tax collections for the incoming Duterte administration.

    Personal notes
    At this point, I beg The Manila Times readers’ pardon for “being personal” in writing about two Bulacan towns where the mayors come from the two villages (barangay) where I used to live.

    In Pandi, a small but one of the most remote towns of the province, Celestino “Tinoy” Marquez will take his oath as the new mayor. He is from Manatal, once a backward barrio but which is now among the most agriculturally productive in Bulacan. “If you can’t produce 100 cavans of palay per hectare, you have no right to be a farmer,” was the saying among my old folks.

    Both my late maternal and paternal grandparents were from Manatal.

    On the other hand, Eladio Gonzales Jr., more popularly known as Junior, is the new mayor of Balagtas. He is a resident of Pulonggubat, the barrio where my parents transferred from Manatal after getting married. To give our readers an idea how many years ago that was, I will be 70 next year, while my elder brother will turn 73 this year.

    Bayanihan
    In my youth, Manatal had no roads. The farmers were not schooled on modern ways of agriculture but knew what bayanihan could do for them. With their cooperative efforts, they built a mini dam to irrigate their farms when the canals of the National Irrigation Administration ran dry.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, Pulonggubat was one of the few barrios in Bulacan with a complete elementary school, that is, from Grades 1 to 6. Because of this, parents from other barrios with only Grades 1-4 sent their children to finish Grades 5 and 6 to Santol 1st Elementary School, which has been renamed Marciano Rivera Elementary School.

    I will always remember Pulonggubat as a barrio that has been the beneficiary of politicians’ pork barrel. The national road linking it to the town proper of Balagtas, formerly Bigaa, has been paved, courtesy of our congressmen. One of those who financed the road improvement was Rep. Teodulo Natividad.

    Am I lucky to have Pandi Mayor Marquez and Balagtas Mayor Gonzales to have lived and still live in the barrios where I had spent my younger years? Well, their three-year reign starting July 1 will be closely watched after taking their historic oath tomorrow.

    esdperez@gmail.com.

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