Dato Arroyo: BIR being selective in tax probe

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 03 2011 11:20 AM | Updated as of May 03 2011 09:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The youngest son of former President, now Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cried foul over the apparent persecution of himself and his brother by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

In a statement released to media, Camarines Sur. Rep. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo said, “Kung totoo nga po ang inuulit-ulit nila na hindi sila nangungursunada, bakit sa mga naiisip lang nilang kalaban ng administrasyon ito ginagawa? Bakit po hindi rin ganon ang pagbusisi nila sa mga taga-majority o sa mga miyembro ng gabinete? If the government is really serious about this, then maybe they should examine not just the opposition but also their allies. Lahat-lahat na. Otherwise, they should shift their focus on all the very real problems facing our country now, instead of going on a witch-hunt in an obvious effort to steer the headlines away from the very clear and dangerous indicators that our beloved country is falling apart.”

In a letter dated March 31, 2011, BIR Assistant Commissioner James Roldan wrote House of Representatives (HOR) Secretary-General Marlyn Barua-Yap to request for copies of the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) of Ang Galing Party-List Rep. Mikey Arroyo for the years 2004 to 2010 and Dato Arroyo for the years 2007 to 2010.

In his letter, Roldan cited section 5B of the 1997 National Internal Revenue Code in requesting that copies of the SALN be issued to the National Investigation Division.

The same letter assured the HOR that the copies will be kept confidential.

In an April 7, 2011 memo to her deputy, Yap asked the records division to furnish the copies, with a marginal note stating that no case against the 2 have been cited in the request.

House Records Division Chief Ricardo Bering released the records on April 25 through Atty. Artemio Adasa, officer-in- charge of the Secretary General’s office.

In a subsequent text message, Yap confirmed the authenticity of the letters. Yap, however, said that  “no records have been released  as yet per Atty. Bering of our records office."

Dato said, “Kung sa sulat lang ng BIR sa Batasan, wala naman po akong problema doon kasi wala naman akong tinatago. But that is not the issue. The issue is the seemingly very selective persecution of anyone associated with the previous administration-- and the use of the government's precious man hours and resources to this end--- at a time when our country is suffering from the effects of the Middle East problems, the rising figures of self-rated hunger, the worsening unemployment, the rising cost of not only of gas but of all commodities, which was validated by a recent Wall Street Journal report which placed the Philippines as Asia's leader in terms of food inflation, and the recent global reports showing that the country's corruption index even increased under the Aquino administration,”

Dato said he has no objections to the probe, but he hopes it won’t be selective.

"They are free to conduct an inquiry on my SALN. I have nothing to hide. I hope however that this is a regular exercise of  BIR's mandate and not just another tactic of Malacañang to divert the people's attention from the real state of our country by going after those associated with the previous administration," he said.

Yap, however, said she felt there was nothing selective about it.

Yap said there were previous requests for the SALNs of Representatives Manny Pacquiao and Linabelle Ruth Villarica.

Just recently, the BIR filed tax evasion charges against his brother Mikey and his wife Angela.

Copies of Letters: 2  |  3