PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday admonished boxing champion and Rep. Manny Pacquiao of Sarangani for squaring off with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in a “media war” instead of answering the charges against him in court.
“. . . The way to settle it is to answer all of these queries by the BIR and not to engage in a media war. The media will not decide who is right or wrong. It will be our courts eventually, if it gets to that, who will decide.
But, again, the process has been two years,” Aquino said of Pacquiao, who has been railing against the P2.2-billion tax case he faces and the recent garnishment of his assets.
The President scored Pacquiao for being “cavalier” when he ignored the repeated requests of the BIR for a clarification on his tax payments.
“My understanding is that he was cavalier for not responding to legitimate summonses by the BIR. So he earns abroad, he pays taxes there [and]their tax rate and our tax rate are different,” Aquino told reporters at the sidelines of his visit to quake-hit Bohol.
Pacquiao’s camp has denounced the tax case as a form of “harassment” and “politically motivated.”
But the President said he cannot find the logic in Pacquiao’s allegations.
“I understand the [tax]accounts total P1.1 million. What is that compared to all of his winnings? And with all due to respect to Congressman Pacquiao, if he believes that he has complied with all the necessary rules and all the necessary laws, then I’m sure he has all the evidence to [prove his innocence],” he said.
“So if he did right, then I’m sure he will be able to prove that he did right, and therefore there is no issue,” he added.
Pacquiao challenged the P2.2-billion tax debt at the Court of Tax Appeals and submitted documents to prove he had paid the right taxes with the United States Internal Revenue Service.
Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said Pacquiao must present the documents to the BIR before he is cleared.