PMA president puzzled by tax evasion case

by Rose Carmelle Lacuata,

Posted at Mar 28 2014 12:58 AM | Updated as of Mar 28 2014 08:58 AM

MANILA -- Outgoing Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Leo Olarte believes that a tax evasion case filed against him may have been caused by miscalculation on his part.

In an interview on dzMM Thursday, Olarte said that he does not know why the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed a case against him.

"Hindi ko alam bakit ako nasampahan ng tax evasion. As far as I know, wala akong evasion na nagawa," he said.

The BIR said Olarte owes government P2.93 in deficiency income tax and value-added tax (VAT) from 2006 to 2012. The complaint was filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday.

Olarte, who is also a lawyer, was teaching at the University of the East (UE) and Far Eastern University (FEU) on the years when he allegedly failed to file his income tax returns (ITR) and value-added tax (VAT) returns.

"Magkano lang ba ang sweldo ng teacher sa pagtuturo? Kapag nagbabayad naman sila ng sweldo, automatic naman na kinakaltas ang tax," he said.

He said he is willing to pay if the deficiency was indeed caused by his own miscalculations. "It's only a matter of calculation, at kung sakaling may kulang, handa naman akong magbayad."

Olarte believes that his criticism of BIR's tax education ad may have caused the agency to single him out.

He had earlier challenged the bureau to sue delinquent tax-paying doctors.

However, Olarte clarified that he only voiced out his opinion as part of his work as PMA president.

"Walang personalan. Bilang presidente ng PMA, trabaho ko lang yan. I have to protect the name and honor of the profession. Kung hindi naman ako president, hindi ako magsasalita."

The issue came up in time for the election for the new president of PMA. Olarte admitted that he is on the losing end of the election.

"Natatalo ako dahil sa black propaganda against me. Pero okay na rin, pagod na rin ako. Ang susunod na presidente na ang magdedepensa [sa mga doktor] laban sa BIR," he said.