BIR to run after Pacquiao despite TRO

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 21 2014 03:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2014 05:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Government will continue to run after Sarangani congressman and boxing champ Manny Pacquiao on his more than P3 billion tax liability despite a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court on the surety and cash bond required by the Court of Tax Appeals.
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares said the TRO just delayed the process but the BIR will still continue to go after the lawmaker.

According to Henares, the garnishment and levying of Pacquiao's assets have already started and cannot be subjected to the TRO since there is nothing to restrain.

She said the TRO does not lift the freeze order on Pacquiao's bank accounts, which she said only contains a little over P2 million, a small amount according to Henares compared to his reported assets.

The Pacquiao house in Forbes Park, Makati also has been levied.

Though Henares admits that Pacquiao can sell the property, the buyers must be warned that there is an encumbrance to the title, meaning the government has already a claim to it.

"Pwede niyang ibenta, pero may babala, under warning ang buyer na may lien ‘yan, may habol ang gobyerno diyan," said Henares.

The BIR is set to file a motion for reconsideration on the issue.

From the papers, a portion of the TRO reads:

"Now, therefore, extending indefinitely and until further orders from this Court (1) respondent CTA (first division) its agents, representatives or persons acting in its place and stead, are hereby enjoined from implementing its April 22 resolution and the July 11 resolution insofar as it requires petitioners to either deposit a cash bond in the amount of P3,298,514,894.35 or to post a surety bond in the amount of P4,947,772,341.53 as a condition for the suspension of collection of deficiency income taxes," the high court’s Third Division said.

In an interview with dzMM Wednesday, Pacquiao’s counsel Tranquil Salvador said they will present evidence to prove that the boxing champ paid taxes in the US in his previous fights.

But Henares said the BIR has given Pacquiao all the opportunity to present it until the assessment of his tax liability became final.

"Why did he not present it? Kung talagang may ebidensya, bakit ‘di niya ipinakita noong day one pa lang? Ginulo niyo pa kami. Dapat nga sisingilin pa kayo sa cost of litigation," she said.