BY JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER
THERE is no serious rift between Sarangani Rep. and ring icon Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares and that talks about their tax “bout” are just “in the spirit of fun,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Monday.
“Perhaps in the spirit of fun. We know how we can find humor in every situation and perhaps, you know, this is an example of that,” Valte said when asked if Henares is indeed waiting for the boxing champion to come home to exact taxes from his recent winnings.
On Sunday (Saturday night in the United States), Pacquiao won via a unanimous decision in his 12-round bout against American Timothy Bradley. The lawmaker was expected to take home at least $20 million or roughly P880 million from pay-per-view alone.
April 15 is the deadline for the filing of taxpayers’ Income Tax Returns.
According to Valte, Pacquiao has really nothing to worry about because the BIR and his camp are working together to address his tax concerns. The new welterweight division champion is facing a string of tax cases in the Philippines over his alleged non-payment of tax dues from 2008 to 2009.
“As far as I know from Commissioner Henares, they have been working with Congressman Pacquiao on his liabilities from 2008 or in 2009. So, perhaps it was just a reminder,” Valte explained.
She defended Henares from criticisms that the BIR chief was a “spoiler” to Pacquiao’s latest victory over a tough opponent.
“I don’t think that she meant to be a spoiler to his victory,” the Palace official stressed.
Valte further explained that the BIR does not mean to be “hard” on Pacquiao and that Henares’ statement should not be taken to mean that collecting taxes from the lawmaker is more important than the honor he brought the country.
“What Commissioner Henares said earlier was that they are talking with the camp of Pacman to look for other remedies to his liabilities. We don’t mean to make it hard for Congressman Pacquiao,” she pointed out.