THE Court of Appeals (CA) has found singer and bus operator Claire de la Fuente guilty of indirect contempt for forum shopping in order to secure a favorable ruling in connection with the P417.8-million tax evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against her and her bus company Philippine Corinthian Line Corporation (PCLC).
In a three-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Pedro Corales, the CA’s Former Special 15th Division denied de la Fuente’s motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.
With this, the appeals court ordered de la Fuente (Clarita de Guzman in real life) and PCLC to pay a fine of P2,000 each.
Concurring in the ruling were Associate Justices Sesinando Villon and Victoria Isabel Paredes.
“This Court cannot countenance petitioners who resort to the reprehensible practice of forum shopping which manipulates the court system, abuses its processes, degrades the administration of justice, and wastes valuable judicial resources,” the court said.
It said De la Fuente’s filing of a motion for reconsideration at the Department of Justice despite the fact that a case was pending at the CA “is a clear case of forum shopping.”
The singer-trader filed a petition for mandamus, prohibition and certiorari before the CA
16th Division against the BIR and then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima seeking the reversal of the filing of the tax evasion case which stemmed from PCLC’s alleged failure to pay P417.8 million in taxes from 1997 to 2004.
On August 15, 2012, the CA junked de la Fuente’s petition and her subsequent motion for reconsideration, prompting her to elevate the case to the Supreme Court.
While the case was pending at the High Court, de la Fuente filed a motion for reconsideration of de Lima’s November 2, 2010 resolution, which was denied.
She then filed a petition at the CA, seeking to set aside de Lima order, which brought her more trouble.