NOW that Due Diligencer has got the attention of certain sympathizers if not actual members of the yellow fever tribe, it will explain its use of “singling out” in the piece that earlier appeared in this corner, which mentioned in passing demand of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for Filipino boxing champion Manuel Pacquiao to pay over P2 billion in tax deficiency.
Perhaps, it could have been better understood if it had instead written that Pacquiao is only one of a number of big tax payers that has not been too honest in paying the correct taxes.
But here is the problem: Commissioner Kim Henares, the chief tax collector, has found the Philippines’s very rich and very famous very honest. She could have belied Due Diligencer’s suggestion that she had singled out Pacquiao in her tax collection efforts, by making public a 2008 BIR’s demand for Golden Donuts Inc. (GDI) to pay its alleged tax deficiency.
But Henares did not. Apparently, she did not know anything about Dunkin’ Donut’s local seller—as Due Diligencer learned—owed—and still owes—BIR the exact amount of P1,513,298,597.67.
Has Henares followed up the BIR story on Pacquiao’s tax deficiency with a similar release on what has long been GDI’s “overdue and demandable” tax payment, she could have scored big in public approval. At the same time, stricter enforcement of tax laws by going to the extent of suing the company to enforce collection would have sent a strong message that she meant business. Unfortunately she did not do what she should have done, preferring to be remiss in her duty instead of making the government coffers richer by P1.5 billion, which was the exact amount that Due Diligencer has memorized for fear of losing the piece of paper on which it was written. Since it is now on record with the amount appearing in this piece, there is no use of keeping it for posterity.
Anyway, it is up to Henares to make the move by quickly acting to collect from GDI what’s due the government, which, together with what she is trying to collect from Pacquaio, could total close to P5 billion. That’s a lot of cash for the starving and homeless victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Cebu, Leyte and Samar.
Of course, before Henares could boost a P4 billion or may be P5 billion in additional tax collection, she may want to disclose to the public what really transpired between 2008 and today that the case against Dunkin’ Donut seller has been sleeping since the beginning of the Aquino administration on July 1, 2010. It is up to the present BIR leadership to make the RIGHT move by not engaging in selective prosecution and tax collection.
At this point, Due Diligencer is making it clear that it is not against BIR. As a matter fact, it has always been pro-government but not necessarily pro-all people in government. It wants to see BIR’s collection’s drive against ALL tax evaders succeed as it has learned—and believes so—that Pacquiao has no other recourse but to pay what has long been due the government. The same goes true with GDI whose tax deficiency could have even topped P2 billion if Henares and company would update their computations and publicly acknowledge the company’s tax liabilities.
Perhaps, the many of the readers of The Manila Times may be wondering why businessman Lucio Tan had for many years engaged the BIR in a long legal battle that began during the administration of then-President Fidel V. Ramos. There is an answer to this: Due Diligencer has been told that Tan had—and still has—very good lawyers, who protested BIR’s “notice of assessment” even before the amount has become “due and demandable.” The tax lawyers know the difference between the two phases inside the parentheses.
Finally, does Henares have in her possession the results of a review by a BIR examiner by the name of Othello Dalanon of GDI’s financial filings? If so, then she would know where to start releasing the information to the public thru the media. If she decides to do the right thing, then her tax collection campaign would surely be different from her predecessors.