Carla Corona, husband deny tax evasion charges

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2012 02:04 PM | Updated as of Oct 16 2012 02:20 AM

MANILA - Carla Corona Castillo and husband, Constantino Castillo, III personally filed their respective counter-affidavits with the Department of Justice (DOJ) panel investigating the tax evasion charges against them slapped by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and urged the panel to dismiss the "baseless and vexatious" charges.

In its complaint, the BIR charged Castillo of a P9.93 million tax deficiency for 2010, and placed Constantino III's tax deficiency at P20.25 million for 2010 and 2003.

In their separate counter-affidavits, the couple accused the BIR of violating their right to due process by not allowing them to participate in its preliminary inquiry prior to the filing of formal charges. The couple further said that the absence of any docket number for the required preliminary investigation only showed that no such investigation, required by virtue of BIR Revenue Memorandum Order No. 27-2010, took place.

They also argued that there is no prima facie evidence against them based on evidence presented by the BIR through expenditure method, and that the mere discrepancy between increased net worth and reported income alone should not be taken to mean that their income tax returns show less income than actually received. They pointed out that it was government's burden to present evidence "negating receipt of income from non-taxable sources."

The couple stressed that the BIR failed to show that they received unreported taxable income for the years subject of the complaint, and dismissed the complaints as "plain assumptions" and "mere suppositions."

Former Chief Justice Renato Corona did not appear before the panel due to a pending letter-appeal he filed with the office of Justice Sec Leila De Lima, requesting for another 20 days to file his counter-affidavit. Corona's lawyers said it was physically impossible for them to file his counter-affidavit within the 10-day period previously given by the panel for the submission of the same since the complaint against him covers 8 taxable years.

The panel granted Corona another extension, giving him another 10 days or up to Oct 25 to personally file his counter-affidavit.

Panel chair Senior State Prosecutor Roseanne Balauag reminded the former chief magistrate's lawyer, Christian Diaz, that no other extension will be granted and failure by Corona to file his counter-affidavit on Oct 25 will constitute a waiver on his part to submit his defense.

Incidentally, today's hearing coincided with Corona's 64th birthday.