MANILA – (4th UPDATE) Fighting congressman Manny Pacquiao said on Tuesday that his bank accounts have been frozen, which, he claimed, forced him to borrow money for the financial aid he promised typhoon survivors in the Visayas.
In a press briefing aired live on TV, Pacquiao made an appeal to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) about his P2.2-billion tax case.
“Ako po ay nakikiusap sa BIR na alisin ang garnishment sa aking mga bank account and properties dahil hindi ko naman tatalikuran ang aking responsibilidad bilang isang mamamayan,” said Pacquiao, who is coming off a morale-boosting victory over Brandon Rios last Sunday.
“Huwag naman akong i-single out dahil hindi naman ako magnanakaw. Ako ang tao na ayaw na ayaw sa mga magnanakaw,” he stressed.
To satisfy the BIR's tax claim, it issued a warrant of garnishment to banks, which reportedly prompted the banks to freeze Pacquiao's accounts. A warrant of levy on Pacquiao's properties has also been issued.
The BIR's move happened two weeks before the boxing superstar’s bout in Macau last Sunday.
The order has been a huge financial inconvenience for the boxer, who earned his millions by risking his life in the boxing ring.
Pacquiao also noted that there are people whose livelihood depends on his businesses who will also suffer because of the freeze order.
“Hindi ako makagalaw. Ano ba ang hanapbuhay ko? Hindi naman ako magnanakaw na may ibang source," he said. "Naapektuhan din tuloy ang ibang business namin, mga trabahante namin, mahirapan silang magsweldo,” he said.
The case stemmed from the supposed failure of Pacquiao’s accountant to report in his income tax returns (ITR) the millions of dollars in taxes that he paid in the US in relation to his fight purses from 2008 to 2009.
Pacquiao also hinted that politics was behind the case, citing that he has already tried to address his tax woes.
“Ang problema lang ay naghahanap sila ng papel na nagbayad ako ng tax sa America,” the boxer explained. “Paanong magagawa e hindi nila ino-honor 'yung binigay na kopya ng IRS na nagbayad kami? Kaya nagkabuhol-buhol [ang kaso].”
“Sana po ay kalimutan natin ang pamumulitika at magtulungan tayong lahat. 'Yan ang problema sa ating bansa. Kahit walang eleksyon, puro pulitika ang nasa isip,” he added.
The boxer, however, did not mention who was after him.
Pacquiao and his wife, last August, appealed the BIR's order by filing a petition through their lawyers before the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA).
Based on the petition, the boxing champ wants to stop the BIR from collecting the P2.2 billion in supposed tax deficiencies.