MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) on Monday ordered convicted tax evader Gloria V. Kintanar to be placed under hospital arrest.
Kintanar, a distributor of Forever Living products, was found guilty of tax evasion by the CTA for unpaid taxes worth P6.3 million.
CTA's second division, composed of Associate Justices Juanito C. Castaneda Jr., Olga Palanca-Enriquez and Erlinda P. Uy, ordered that Kintanar be placed under hospital arrest, which will be under the custody of the court sheriff.
Once she is up and about, the CTA ordered Kintanar be transferred to the city jail to serve her sentence of two to four years of imprisonment.
Atty. Salvador Quebral, Kintanar's lawyer, presented a medical certifcate confirming Kintanar's confinement at the Velasco hospital in Silang, Cavite due to "hypertensive urgency --- dyslipedemia".
Quebral explained that if this condition is not treated, it may lead to a heart attack.
The BIR filed the case against Kintanar back in 2005 for failing to file her income tax return for 2000 and 2001. Kintanar earned substantial income as an independent contractors of Forever Living Products Philippines Inc. and has been asked by the BIR several times from 2003 to 2005 to pay her taxes.
The Supreme Court's third division affirmed the CTA's decision that found Kintanar guilty of two counts of violating section 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code, or failing to supply the Bureau of Internal Revenue with correct and accurate information and the judgement on her case has become final and executory.
The BIR sought the issuance of a writ of execution on March 1 seeking the payment of some P6.3 million in taxes from Kintanar and the issuance of a warrant for her arrest and a hold departure order. The court sentenced her to imprisonment for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years for each violation.
BIR Revenue Officer Atty. Jason Torres explained the Kintanar tax evasion case is a landmark case because the SC upheld the CTA's doctrine on "willful blindness" that sets the precedent for future cases.
The CTA doctrine on willful blindness simply means that an individual or corporation can no longer say that the errors on their tax returns are not their responsibility or that it is the fault of the accountant they hired.
According to the CTA, an act is willful if it is "voluntary, conscious and intentional" and that bad motive or intent to defraud need not be shown. The only thing that needs to be shown is that she is aware of her obligation to file annual income tax returns but "she nevertheless, voluntarily, knowingly and intentionally failed to file the required returns." "It is a settled principle in agency that a principal is liable for the acts/omissions of his/her agent within his/her express authority because the act/omission of such agent is the act/omission of the principal," the CTA second division said.
"Under this rule, the principal is bound by the acts of her agent because of the apparent authority which she knowingly permitted the agent to assume," it added.
Torres also added Kintanar's case is the fiurst definitive conviction under the Run After Tax Evaders program which the BIR launched in 2005.
Meanwhile, Atty Quebral said they will still be following up the motion they filed for a TRO before the SC last Thursday.