ABS-CBN 'clear' with BIR except for 1 pending case, says deputy commissioner


Posted at Feb 18 2020 10:06 PM

MANILA – ABS-CBN Corp. has no tax liabilities pending with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), except for one case that's still lodged at the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), a deputy commissioner said on Tuesday. 

“Pending with CTA. That’s the only one. All the rest is clear,” BIR Deputy Commissioner for Operations Arnel Guballa told reporters on the sidelines of BIR 2020 Tax Campaign launch. 

The pending tax case involves Star Songs, a subsidiary that has since been merged with Star Cinema, according to ABS-CBN Corporate Communications head Kane Choa.

During the same event, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said investors would see that the government is “upholding the rule of law” if the petition filed by the Solicitor General questioning the validity of ABS-CBN franchise is proven.

“There’s a claim by the OSG [Office of the Solicitor General] that there’s a violation of the regulation and in fact, it might be a constitutional violation. I think that if that’s proven, the investors will say that these guys were upholding the rule of law,” Dominguez told reporters on the sidelines of the same event. 

Solicitor General Jose Calida earlier filed a quo warranto petition case against ABS-CBN, citing violations of its franchise. 

In one of the grounds cited in the petition, Calida claimed that ABS-CBN violated the constitutional ban on foreign ownership of media companies. 

Calida claimed that foreigners who bought ABS-CBN's Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs) were part-owners of the company.

ABS-CBN has said that the PDRs issued by its holding company were “evaluated and approved” by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"We reiterate that everything we do is in accordance with the law. We did not violate the law,” ABS-CBN earlier said. 

The former head of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has also said that owning PDRs is not the same as owning shares of stock of a company.

PDRs only entitle its holder to a share in the profit of a company, unlike stocks which make investors part-owners of the company with voting rights. 

News.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.

-- With a report from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News