MANILA - Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday took up the cudgels for boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, who is deeply embroiled in tax woes.
Binay said Pacquiao had not been remiss in his tax obligations, but the documents presented by the boxer and Sarangani lawmaker were largely ignored.
Binay noted the claim of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that it was asking proof from Pacquiao that he paid taxes for his earnings from his bouts in the US during the years 2008 and 2009.
“They have been investigated for two years and it is not their (Pacquiao camp’s) fault. They presented evidence, but it was not accepted,” Binay said.
Pacquiao, according to Binay, had confided to him that politics was the main reason why the BIR is pursuing the tax claim against him.
Binay said Pacquiao was surprised by the turn of events.
“After the fight of Pacquiao, he told me he was surprised. Even two weeks after the (May) elections, there were efforts to let him transfer to the other party. He was not accepted and he joined PDP-Laban,” Binay told reporters after the wreath-laying ceremony at the Gat Andres Bonifacio Shrine in Manila.
Binay said the alleged harassment of Pacquiao started two weeks after the elections last May.
The BIR said Pacquiao failed to present evidence that he already paid taxes in the US covering his fights in 2008 and 2009 and has asked him to pay P2.2 billion in taxes, including penalties and surcharges.
The Court of Tax Appeals issued a warrant of garnishment on Pacquiao’s assets following his failure to provide the BIR with a copy of the tax return filed with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
So far, the BIR has managed to freeze only two bank accounts containing a total of P1.1 million.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said the bureau has been asking Pacquiao since 2010 to submit the documents to determine whether he paid the right taxes.
Pacquiao argued that he could not present original copies of the tax payments because the IRS does not issue such documents.