MANILA, Philippines – In an ironic turn of events, Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao was forced to borrow at least P1 million for his financial needs, as well as to buy the relief goods that he promised to give to the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda.
Pacquiao’s financial dilemma was brought about by the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) move to issue a warrant of garnishment, levy and distraint on his bank accounts and real properties.
“Nandoon po sa record ko, yung mga itinulong ko... milyon po, hindi po bababa ng isang milyon po,” the Filipino boxer said in an interview on ANC's "Top Story" on Tuesday.
“Hindi ako makapag-withdraw ni isang singkong sentimo sa sarili ko pong pera, hindi ko magamit para man lang makatulong.”
Although he has business set up in the Philippines, Pacquiao said most of his earnings were deposited in banks that were garnished by the BIR, adding that the rest of money is not enough to shoulder the salaries of his employees.
The boxer revealed that the BIR has already issued a warrant of garnishment to some of his accounts even before super typhoon Yolanda struck the Visayas region.
“Nung nangyari 'yung trahedya doon, na-garnish na po ako noon, na-hold na ng BIR,” said Pacquiao. “Ang ginawa ko po para makatulong doon, nangutang po ako para makatulong tayo doon sa Tacloban. Sa awa ng D’yos nakapagbigay ako.”
But his problems did not stop there. Shortly after his bout against Brandon Rios, the BIR reportedly issued a warrant of garnishment on his remaining accounts.
Since he has already promised to visit Tacloban, Pacquiao said he had to borrow money again.
“Nangutang tuloy ulit ako dahil nag-promise akong pupunta akong Tacloban para tumulong. Anong gagawin ko? Pag hindi ako tumulong masisira ako sa mga tao,” the eight-division former world champion said.
Pacquiao, who is coming off a morale-boosting victory over Rios, stressed that he does not deserve such treatment as he claimed that he is being harassed by the BIR.
“Parang harasment talaga ang ginawa nila,” the fighting congressman said. “Ang pakiusap ko lang sa kanila ay alisin yung ganishment at nang makagalaw naman ako at makasweldo ako sa mga tao ko lahat, at sa pamilya ko. hindi naman ako kriminal at magnanakaw para magtago o kumubli.”
He added that unlike some unscrupulous politicians who gained their wealth through corruption, he said he earned his riches by risking himself in the boxing ring.
“Ang pera kong ginarnish ng BIR ay hindi po nakaw at hindi po PDAF o DAP. Ito po ay galing sa lahat ng suntok, bugbog, pawis at dugo na tiniis ko sa boxing,” said Pacquiao.
The BIR has moved to issue warrants of garnishment, levy and distraint against Pacquiao in relation to the boxer’s alleged failure to declare the P2.2 billion in taxes which he paid to the US Internal Revenue Service for the years 2008 to 2009.
Based on Section 205 of the National Internal Revenue Code, this is the BIR's remedy against individuals who failed to settle their taxes.
A distraint refers to the seizure of someone's property in order to obtain payment of rent or other money owed, while a garnishment is a means of collecting a monetary judgment against a defendant by ordering a third party, such as a bank, to pay the money.
The boxer, however, insisted that he has already settled his tax duties with the IRS in the US. Forcing him to cough up additional tax money locally would mean double taxation, he argued.
In a related development, the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) clarified that it did not issue any freeze order on the bank accounts of Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee.
Atty. Margaret Guzman, clerk of court at the CTA, said Pacquiao has filed a civil case with the court last August questioning the assessment issued against him and his wife for P2.2 billion.
"Sometime October 18, the petitioners, congressman Pacquiao and Jinky Pacquiao filed urgent motion to lift warrants of distraint and levy and garnishment and for the issuance of an order to suspend the collection of tax with prayer for issuance of TRO. That is the one being heard by the court currently. No ruling as of yet has been rendered by the court to that effect. Whether or not the court will grant the motion or deny the motion," she told ANC. -- With a report from Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com