Malacañang on Saturday said granting special tax privileges to world boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao at this time will only raise more questions and should be deferred for further consultation with the internal revenue bureau.
Reacting to a proposal by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd to grant tax incentives to the boxing hero, also known locally as the National Fist, before he faces the most anticipated fight of his career with the equally formidable Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2, palace deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said giving him special tax treatment could create inequality in the policy application for athletes.
“There will be questions on ‘yung paano ho ‘yung mga ibang atleta na (how about the other athletes?) they also go out and compete, they bear the flag, and kasama din po ba sila kung sakali, lalo ‘yung mga iba nating (are they also going to be given the same privilege, especially our) professional athletes?” Valte said in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
Pimentel’s proposal, which may be dismissed readily as being “selective,” will have to be studied not only by Congress but by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares herself, Valte said.
“We’ll defer to Commissioner Henares for inputs on that, because I understand that it’s a resolution to be filed by Senator Pimentel. And we’ll leave it also to our fellow workers in Congress to deliberate on that particular proposal,” she added.
“And I’m quite certain that the BIR will participate if they are asked to sit in as resource persons,” she stressed.
Earlier, Pimentel said he intends to file a measure seeking to exempt Pacquiao’s May 2 earnings from tax as the country’s “tribute” to him.
Pacquiao is reportedly eyeing a take home pay of at least $120 million, or roughly P5 billion, for the Mayweather bout, the biggest fight in money terms.
Analysts said the fight may rake in a whopping $300 million at the very least.
Adding to Malacanang’s concern is the fact that Pacquiao is still embroiled in a P3.2-billion tax case with the BIR in connection with his earnings from previous matches.
But Pimentel argued that the tax incentive is a way of recognizing the eight-division champion’s contributions in promoting the country and that such privilege will further inspire him to win the biggest fight of his career, which should bring more honor to his country.
Pimentel, who also hails from Mindanao, also explained that a special tax exemption is one way the government could give back to his fellow lawmaker the generosity he has been extending to his constituents.
For Valte, however, the Lower House should cast a deeper look into the possible ramifications of the proposal once approved.
“In any case, that will have to be discussed by Congress because sila rin naman po ‘yung nagsasabatas nung mga tax, (they’re also the ones legislating the tax bills,” she pointed out.
Pampanga Representative Yeng Guiao has also expressed opposition to Pimentel’s proposal, saying that Pacquiao himself is unlikely to accept such an offer.
Guiao said that a tax exemption is not a necessity for an athlete as blessed as Pacquiao.
“He’s been blessed, he’s been very lucky to earn that kind of money,” the lawmaker who is also the head coach of basketball team Rain or Shine, said in an earlier interview.