GMA pursued cases vs Inquirer’s owners; ‘Noynoy’ sat on them



TO be more precise, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo refused to stop her officials from implementing the Republic’s laws that would be financially devastating to the Rufino family*, the biggest and controlling owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI).

One of these cases required the Rufino-owned firm Sunvar Realty to vacate the prime Mile Long commercial complex in Makati and pay about P1.8 billion in back rentals (computed as of March 2017). The second involved the purported tax liabilities of the clan’s company, Golden Donuts, amounting to P1.6 billion.

Macapagal-Arroyo’s successor, President Benigno Aquino, ignored these cases, and sat on them during his entire term.

President Duterte’s critics claim he has revived these cases after the PDI got his goat for its biased reporting—even unprecedentedly making a hatchet piece by a US newspaper as its banner story. I was told that PDI management even told its staff in an emergency meeting last week that the issue involved “freedom of the press”.

Inquirer was so obviously virulently anti-GMA, and unabashedly pro-“Noynoy”, that it even rushed to report a fake Time magazine cover, the only newspaper to do so.

Hogwash. The reality is that the Rufinos have simply run out of time, and Duterte has no choice but to implement the laws, or be charged with cronyism, even consorting with the oligarchs he says he detests.

The court decision made in 2015 ejecting them from the Makati property can no longer by delayed by legal maneuvers, with even the Supreme Court scolding the lower courts for allowing such dilly-dallying. Aquino’s BIR head Kim Henares who ignored the tax case (but pursued world champion Manny Pacquiao) was only following his boss’ directives, and the present BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay can’t close his eyes to such a huge P1.6 billion tax collection, that is now a decade overdue.

Financial stakes

Do these financial stakes explain why the PDI demonized Arroyo so much that to this day, many still consider her a corrupt President, even as the cases against her have been all but dismissed?

Did PDI’s owners calculate that with its enormous hold on public opinion, it could trigger in mid-2005—when a traitorous and opportunistic bunch of Arroyo’s officials called the Hyatt 10 resigned from her Cabinet—a people-power type of uprising to topple Arroyo, giving it another chance of convincing the succeeding administration to forget the cases?

Do the PDI owners’ quagmire explain why the newspaper portrayed Aquino as a near-saint in the league of his mother Cory, that it stupidly even front-paged a fake Time magazine cover that had him as among the 100 most influential people in the world?

Do these explain why PDI undertook a vicious propaganda campaign against then Vice President Jejomar Binay who had been the front-runner for the presidential contest, and supported to the hilt—never publishing a negative article against— Aquino’s proxy Mar Roxas? (See my column “Inquirer’s brazen hatchet job vs Binay, a disgrace to journalism”)

Do these explain why the PDI has been portraying Duterte’s war against drugs as a horrific massacre of the poor? Do these explain why it has been running so many puff pieces for Vice President Leni Robredo, who is, as they say, just a breath away from the presidency?

Facts and my opinion

You decide, dear Reader. I present you with the facts, and based on thiese,  my logical opinion.

In early 2002, Arroyo’s officials had informed Sunvar to vacate the property, as the lease would expire at the end of the year. It was the National Power Corp. that owned the property that leased it to the Technology Resource Center Foundation (TRCF) in 1978 and 1980, which in turn sub-leased it to Sunvar.

The National Power Corp. had asked the TRCF (renamed after EDSA I the Philippine Development Alternatives Foundation, or PDAF) to demand that Sunvar vacate it as it planned to auction the land, which it estimated was valued at P4 billion. The Napocor had to sell the property since the EPIRA Law of 2001 required it to sell of all of its assets so as to reduce its “stranded costs,” or losses, which until today are being borne by consumers.

Sunvar refused to vacate the property. Its president, Carlos Rufino, claimed in a letter in 2002 that the “previous management of PDAF” had extended the lease by another 25 years. No such document could be found, however. Rufino however also told media in July that year that the original lease was for 50 years, for which, again, no document could be found.

Astonishingly, or rather arrogantly, Rufino told the PDAF chairman in July 2002: “We do not agree with the position taken by the National Government. Kindly exert all efforts that the National Government (change its position).”

Arroyo’s Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera finally sent them a final collection and ejectment notice in 2008. When the firm ignored it, she filed the collection and ejection suit in 2009 at the Makati Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 61.

After it assumed power, the Aquino’s administration did nothing to follow up the suit. It was only in 2015 that the court issued a decision against Sunvar, although it lowered its claim by P1 billion to only P553 million. The Rufinos still refused to comply with the order, and filed various cases to delay it.

Golden Donuts case

In the Golden Donuts (franchisee of the American Dunkin’ Donuts) tax case, it was BIR official Othello Dalanon who was assigned in 2008 to audit the company’s tax payments for 2007, as part of the agency’s auditing of big firms’ tax payments. He found it to be liable for P1.56 billion in unpaid taxes, confirmed by his immediate superiors.

Dalanon used several methods to arrive at his conclusion, with one comparing its sales based on its own books and those in its income tax returns. This method found undeclared sales of P897 million. Another method involved comparison of what the firm reported as its franchise fees (which is based on its 1 percent fee to the US firm) to the sales it reported in its income tax return. This method found undeclared sales amounting to P438 million. Dalanon computed GDI’s unpaid taxes at P1.56 billion, adding what he claimed where GDI’s other understated income.

In his August 6, 2016 post in his blog, Dalanon, who resigned in 2013, because, he says of his disenchantment with BIR head Kim Henares, alleged:

“In 2010, I personally reported Golden Donuts’ omissions to former BIR Commissioner Henares and recommended to her the criminal prosecution of the company for tax evasion under the much-vaunted Run After Tax Evaders program of the Bureau. She intentionally failed to pursue tax evasion case against the company or enforce the collection of the said deficiency tax, because Golden Donuts secretary – Mrs. MarixiRufino-Prieto who also happens to be PDI’s chairperson – is former President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino 3rd’s friend.” Dalanon explained in his post how Aquino’s instructions to favor “his friend” in the case were relayed to the BIR.

The cases against the firms of PDI’s owners are replete with information of all sorts, documents and testimonies.

I hope they respect public opinion enough to respond to the very serious allegations that questions the PDI and its owners’ integrity. PDI President Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez, Marixi’s daughter, has not replied to my emails requesting her to reply to the allegations.

Still more on PDI in coming columns.

*I had referred in earlier columns to PDI’s main owners as the “Prieto/Rufino family”. However, its biggest owner, with 69 percent, is actually the real estate clan Rufino family, currently headed by Carlos Rufino. His sister is Marixi, who is married to Alex Prieto, a scion of the Roces-Prieto family that founded the Manila Times.
“Alex’s” sister Mercedes “Peachy” Prieto owns 6 percent of PDI. Mercedes’ husband is Briccio Santos who headed the Film Development Council under Aquino, and whom Duterte referred to as having been “overpaid” by the government. The Rufino family’s wealth used to be based on movie houses in downtown old Manila, and is now mainly in Makati and Bonifacio Global City skyscrapers, such as the Rufino Pacific Tower, Corinthian Properties and JPMorgan Chase Tower. The Creekside/Mile Long mall complex reportedly accounts for half of the Rufino clan’s revenues though.

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao Twitter: @bobitiglao


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  1. These Oligarchs are termites, leeches, crocodiles, vultures and worst than well known beast on earth. Are these people have no shame? going around attending social gatherings with full rotten garbage on their heads. How could these people sleep with peace. Do they still have conscience? My goodness, shame on you and your families and children’s. Repent and amend while you still can otherwise the day will come for all of you to face the Lord’s wrath.

  2. The time has come to go after these types of businesses which are doing all it can to evade taxes
    thereby enriching themselves. I want them penalised as what the law provides. This is a big deal
    for BIR considering that lots of projects are online for the benefit of the majority of the citizenry.

  3. cyntia gomeri on

    keep it up mr. tiglao dont ever stop exposing this kind of information so shameful especially this biased PDI ever since naman halatang lahat na report at news ay mga yellowtard lalot na para kay panot na walang ginawa kundi mag corrupt at magnakaw . why not also exposed din regarding sa mga gold na bininta nila sa thailand . ang pdaf na pinaghatihatian nila . kaya yan cla lahat na mga galamay ni abnoy takot na takot na ma exposed mga ginawa nila kaya panay tira nila kay duterte at gusto maalis ang pangulo kc mabubuking lahat mga ginawa at pagnanakaw nila. yan ang totoong rason kung bakit ganon cla. binabayaran nila c trililing para lang magsalita at laban kay pdu30 at bawat dakdak at panira ni trillanes may katumbas na bayad. mr tiglao wag mo po isantabi regarding sa maanolmalyangpagpapalabas ni pinoy kay trililing dapat lang na ibalik yan sa kulungan. sana yong kay ombudsman carpio din paki din po .maraming salamat mr tiglao hulog ka ng langit sa mga mabuting ginagawa mo at pag e exposed mo mabuhay ka

  4. Was there corruption on the government side?
    Is the government weak or can be bought?
    This is a simple test case for President Duterte, rule of law or rule of friendship.

  5. I thank you Mr. Tiglao for these very informative news. God bless you, Mr Tiglao.

  6. It is no secret that every politician wether local or national favor one or to many businessman. Just check where did this politicians got their financial support when election comes – expect them to give these supporters a chance to get much money from what they spend, others of course vie for power which they will use for their personal benifit — it is all about MONEY & POWER. Check how PDI & ABS-CBN answered back on DUTERTE – President come and go, but we are still here?? Yes of course, with their evil ways to stay on top it is really hard to put them down. But with the technology we have today and with the President & some media personalities exposing their evil ways then they will fall little by little – even with those priests beside them, which also turn blind on their crimes as long as they help the church.

  7. Can the BIR anchor the cases (PDI and Donuts) now with the Supreme Court? Inasmuch as the lower courts failed? Boycott PDI and Donuts?! And the family’s other busineeses? PDI and Donuts are above the law??? Aquino must be held liable to these cases….Please.
    Thanks Sir RDT Aren’t you the president of the NPC yet? Isn’t it high time you should be?

  8. The very obvious why pdi of the prietos are very protective and supportive of the aquinos and has become thw yellow tool in demonizing those not favorable to their business interest. This is the common denominator of pdi of the priestos-rufinos and ab(ia)s-cbn of the lopezes, both yellow media and defenders of the aquinos-cojuangcos.

  9. arnel amador on

    an epic example when so called freedom of the press is held hostage by the oligarchs, the owners of mainstream media, for their own selfish interest. it won’t be surprized if digong is their next erap in the making….idiots at their disposal still abound folks!

  10. cheche bureche on

    I congratulate Mr. Dante Ang for giving Mr. Bobbi Tiglao a space in his newspaper. Telenovela ang dating sarap basahin.

  11. Fely Angeles on

    The “real leeches” of the Philippine economy? Shameful! While the ordinary Filipino folks are trying to earn their living the honest way..these oligarchs and their cohorts are “rampaging” our economy by not paying the right amount of taxes due to the government. They should be held liable to the Filipino people…and the time to exact JUSTICE is NOW!!!

    We can just imagine how many additional schools and bridges in the far-flung areas that can be built out of this! Thank you Mr. Tiglao for exposing the “hypocrisy” of the “HAVES” and their cohorts in the in our society! Shame on them!

  12. The Aquinos bulldozed the backyard farms and nipa huts of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita. Those who dared to complain were shot. The same thing should be done to the squatting oligarch Rufinos and Prietos.

  13. Just as the world campaigned against United Airlines, let all freedom-loving and decent Filipinos and foreigner alike conduct a BOYCOTT of all interests that this family owns or has beneficial control. First, I enjoin all Filipinos to stop patronizing all Dunkin’ Donut outlets just as everybody should stop buying PDI. Then, all lessees in all their structures should convey their intent to terminate or rescind their lease agreements with the Rufinos or their management/realty companies. This is the only way to force these people to pay the proper taxes that will be use for the pro-poor projects of the government.

    Calling all other media outlets to make headlines and banner stories of this large-scale tax evasion caper of these tax evading family!!!

    • Aquino kept Arroyo in jail for 5 years on trumped up charges just because he wanted a trophy prisoner that he could blame for everything during his administration.

      A government needs enemies to rally the people.
      If it doesn’t have one they will invent one.

      Worked for Aquino.

  14. INQUIRER manipulated the news in their favor for so many years just so they don’t pay their billions worth of taxes. How do you wrap your head around that? I can’t. Because in the process, they committed so much crime! Each and everyone of these evil Rufinos, Prietos and board of directors should be hanged, drawn, and quartered…or jail them, and upon release – exile them. Definitely heavily penalize them and ban them from working in the same field. The destruction they wreaked AS A FAMILY(my gad!) is beyond comprehension. I cannot fathom such evil disguising themselves as bastions of truth, operating within our midst.

  15. This is a lesson for us not to give another chance for the Yellows to return to power…please inform us always of who are these corrupt people and politicians who destroys our country. Thank you!

  16. CriticalThinking on

    Proof of how incompetent and corrupt the Yellow Party is setting aside Billions of Update Debts by their compatriot Elites/Oligarch friends.

  17. This is another ‘wild-wild west’ side sector of our free country where all along PDI rode on that supposedly ‘freedom of the press’, their creed ‘balance news, fearless views’ but as you last said, is actually like a ‘gun-on-the-holster’ they used to keep their enemies at bay and freely leverage resources advantageous to their business interests. All wage earners are taxed to the hilt while some of our oligarchs are tax-evaders. They are just as guilty of violating our laws as those corrupt government officials and bureaucrats who plunder the national coffer!

  18. Don’t you just love it when you see that real, unbiased Investigative Journalism still exists in this country? I do. Keep it up, Mr Tiglao. The Filipino Taxpayer is behind you!

  19. Thank you Mr. Tiglao for the continuation on this article exposing filthy rich Oligarchs who connive with the Yellows in position to amass more wealth and making worst resulting to Tax Evasion. Another fruitful Monday morning for reading. Please carry on until the culprits are punished by the pursuing President Duterte government.The government should now be oblige to speed justice to Regular filipino Tax payers who are directly being deducted in their take home pay while this Prietos/Rufinos etc. get away with it.

  20. Bobi, please don’t stop exposing the glaring anomalies made by the owners of Philippine INQUIRER until the have answered all the pecuniary and criminal liabilities they are responsible. They act like the SPANIARD during the time Spain’s colonization.

    By putting them to jail will teach them how to be humble.

  21. Another of noynoy’s legacy to the Philippines among others. Noynoy probably is the lousiest President this country ever got. Good riddance.

  22. That’s what you get from the Aquino’s DemoCrazy governance.

    Truth exposed.

    Bad karma is moving fast and furious.

  23. It is following the same course as Hacienda Lusita! Treating the lease as ownership! Latter on, they will ask the government to pay them to leave the place!


    Palpak naman talaga yng abnoy n yn e. Si baklang Panot e walang ginawa kundi paboran ang mga corrupt nyang offiails. Salot takaga yang baklang Panot na yan..

  25. Shocking, the greed and lack of morality of these “elite,.” To know the truth is to be able to act correctlyl-if you are a moral person. Kim Henares’ role in this shameful affair is reprehensible. She was not a public servant; she was a servant.
    Thank you Mr. Tiglao for the information.

  26. This column is filled with true facts and worthy of reading. Now that Aquino is out to pasture, we can see that DU30 will let the government pursue the law.


  28. If the court’s decision can be ignored by its citizens, though in this instance not just an ordinary citizen but an oligarch, what’s the use of the judiciary in a democracy like ours? Seemingly, “due process” is being streched too far by people or organizations already enjoying government’s resources. And enjoying it for so long. I agree with FIELD, just implement the court’s decision. PDI really has no moral authority to preach. They are just as wicked as to fool the Filipino people all these years. They must pay the government and close shop. Thanks sir Bobi for sharing what you knew regarding PDI and its owners and what they have been doing to the government.

    • Payoff from a deal. These people handle everything by buying or paying.
      They won’t go to jail they will just pay a settlement.

      Justice in the Philippines.

  29. Thank you Sir, for the information. So with this revelation and honest to goodness report by you, I hope our present government will pursue the case and add the tax payment to all the mega projects of Pres. Duterte.

  30. Leland Sacro on

    The legacy of Aquino-Cojuangco – freedom without responsibility, institutionalized corruption.

    And then you have a tolerant catholic church.


  31. Your articles continue to amaze me. Please consider taking the time to write a book. It would be fascinating reading.

  32. Samuel Santos on

    PNoy, hanggang kailang ba magdurusa and buong bayan dahil sa iyong mga kapalpakan?

  33. Lock them up! This is a super scandal!

    Thank you Mr. Tiglao for sharing your readers the malpractices of peoples/families who enriched themselves at the expense of the poor Filipinos.

  34. What is the government waiting for? just implement the court’s decision, disarm the security guards assigned in the Mile Long commercial complex, take over the property and restore law and order in the complex.

    • Agreed, just send law enforcement officers to remove them and confiscate anything found on the property which will be auctioned off at a later date.

      That’s the way the Philippines deals with the farmers, Lets see if it applies to the rich as well.