BIR: Corona's income tax liability higher than P120M

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2012 01:29 PM | Updated as of Sep 13 2012 09:29 PM

MANILA - The income tax liability of former Chief Justice Renato Corona is expected to go higher than the amount identified in the complaint filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) with the Dept. of Justice (DOJ), bared BIR Commissioner Kim Henares.

Henares told reporters that the civil aspect of the case will ultimately involve an amount higher than Corona's alleged income tax liability of P120.5 million since the case filed against him did not cover his supposed dollar account(s) in Banco De Oro. It also does not take into account Corona's testimony and admissions before the Senate Impeachment Court on the extent of his wealth.

The alleged report from the Anti-money Laundering Council (AMLC), presented by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales before the Impeachment Court, has not been incorporated in the complaint as well, Henares said.

Henares bared BDO refused to give the BIR the ending balance of Corona's alleged dollar account(s) after Corona revoked the waiver he executed, in favor of the BIR and other government agencies, during his impeachment trial.

BDO filed a case for declaratory relief with the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) to seek the court's opinion on whether the bank can actually accommodate the BIR's request considering that foreign deposit accounts are covered by absolute confidentiality.

"There's a case now with the RTC Makati that the Banco De Oro filed [against] the BIR to find out whether they (BDO) are obligated to give us the dollar account balances...As far as the civil aspect [of the tax evasion case], it will go up. There are still data we are getting," Henares said.

While Corona sent his lawyers to the BIR in response to its letter of authority (LOA), he did not present the documents requested by bureau, Henares claimed. This led to the filing of the tax complaint, she added.

Henares, meantime, refused to give details about the BIR's probe into Corona's wife, Cristina.

"I don't want to discuss anymore ongoing investigations; it's unfair din to them. Until we're ready to file any case, I'd rather not discuss. It's unfair to the taxpayer," she said.

Last Aug. 30, Corona, his daughter, Carla, and son-in-law, Dr. Constantino Castillo III, were slapped with the tax evasion charges. Carla's alleged income tax liability was pegged at P9.93 million, while Castillo's alleged tax liability amounts to P20.25 million.

The Coronas assured they will respond to the charges even as they claimed this was part of the Aquino administration's continuing persecution against them.

Henares was among the witnesses presented by the Prosecution team during Corona's impeachment trial.

“I agree with the observation of many that my family’s persecution continues with the usual media overkill, and that there appears to be an immediate need to divert public attention from certain issues that are becoming too hot to handle. By the grace of God, we will overcome. This, too, will come to pass,” Corona said.

The DOJ investigating panel tasked to conduct the preliminary probe into the BIR complaint sent the Coronas subpoenas on Wednesday for its Sept. 25 first hearing.