A lawmaker on Wednesday urged the House of Representatives to investigate if the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) had the legal justification to freeze the bank accounts of boxing champ Manny Pacquiao.
Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Dasmariñas filed House Resolution 579 which tasks the House panels on Ways and Means and Games and Amusements to conduct an inquiry on the appropriateness of the warrant of garnishment issued by the BIR against
Pacquiao, who represents Sarangani province in Congress.
The BIR claims that Pacquiao has P2.16-billion worth of unpaid taxes because he did not present any official document to prove that he paid his taxes in the United States (US).
BIR chief Kim Henares said that Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank, only sent a certification saying that the boxing champ paid taxes in the US.
“Due to conflicting claims of the parties, there is a need to verify the accuracy of statements of the parties involved and whether proper procedure in the BIR’s authority to issue distraint, levy and garnishment has been followed, particularly in connection with unreported income earned abroad by a professional boxer,” Barzaga, a certified public accountant, said in his resolution.
Pacquiao, the only boxer in history with eight titles in eight different weight classes, defeated Brandon Rios to win the World Boxing Organization International Welterweight title last month.
“Representative Pacquiao’s numerous feats and accomplishments in and outside the boxing ring is definitely the pride and glory of every Filipino and his recent ring victory became the source of hope and respite especially in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. Hence, it is essential that the tax issue with the Bureau of Internal Revenue be immediately resolved,” Barzaga added.
Pacquiao’s adviser, Mike Koncz, is confident that the people’s champion will be cleared in his tax battle.
The Canadian said the Saranggani congressman already settled all tax payments to the United States’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in all his previous bouts.
“The IRS is very strict when it comes to documents but the Top Rank is pursuing to get a copy of those important documents,” Koncz told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Wednesday. “We’re all confident that everything will be fine.”
Koncz didn’t elaborate though, saying Pacquiao’s lawyers and the Top Rank are now assisting him regarding the issue.
Bob Arum, for his part, said Pacquiao’s US certified tax documents will be received by the BIR soon.