'BIR, Pacquiao should compromise on tax case'

By Paolo Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 28 2014 02:03 AM | Updated as of Jan 28 2014 10:03 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A senior administration lawmaker yesterday said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and lawyers of Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao should work together to resolve the alleged tax deficiencies of the congressman-boxer ahead of his upcoming rematch with Timothy Bradley on April 12.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said both sides should agree to a compromise “so that Pacquiao – a national pride – would be able to fight with an unencumbered mind.”

“Now that it’s official that Pacquiao will fight Bradley, efforts should be made by the BIR and him to put an end to his tax problems, so that the pambansang kamao (national fist) could concentrate fully on his forthcoming match,” Barzaga said.

“Every time Pacquiao wins, he gives the needed respite to the country, especially in the wake of disasters with unimaginable magnitude. He is always a big morale booster and a true hero. He is our national pride and let us help him win by removing the burden of his tax controversy,” the lawmaker added.

Bradley will be defending the WBO welterweight title, which he snatched from Pacquiao in his controversial victory in 2012.

Pacquiao, who is expected to earn $20 million in the rematch, is being dogged by the BIR for allegedly failing to pay as much as P2.2 billion in taxes from his boxing income in recent years, leading to the freezing of his local bank accounts.

Pacquiao’s lawyers and the BIR have agreed to pursue an out-of-court negotiation over the case, prompting the Court of Tax Appeals to issue a gag order.

“Manny’s resilience shows that ‘never say never’ attitude of Filipinos. Manny is always providing inspiration during times when we need it most,” Barzaga said.