MANILA, Philippines - Senator Alan Peter Cayetano urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue to stop its "shame campaign" against boxing champ and congressman Manny Pacquiao.
Cayetano issued the statement days after BIR chief Kim Henares reminded Pacquiao to settle his tax deficiencies with the government, which has now ballooned to over P2.7 billion.
Pacquiao had just regained his WBO welterweight title, winning against Timothy Bradley on Saturday.
Cayetano said it is not right to demonize Pacquiao, who has brought honor and joy to the Filipino people, for his failure to pay his taxes.
"Let the legal process take its course in the case of Manny Pacquiao, not in the media. Don't give him special treatment, but don't crucify him in public every opportunity you get. Don't be overacting (OA) or Kulang sa Pansin (KSP)," he said.
While he understands the BIR's mission is to collect taxes, Cayetano said the agency should not "destroy the very few things that make Filipinos unite and make us forget the calamities, problems and harshness of life, even if just for a few hours or a day."
He has a message for Henares: "Collect taxes. Do your job. But do it with respect and with dignity."