BIR still hot on Pacquiao’s trail despite Palace shootfest
MANILA, Philippines—The government is still hot on the trail of international boxing superstar, Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao, despite his unusual pairing with its chief tax collector in a recent Palace practical shooting competition.
“The BIR case on Rep. Pacquiao’s tax accountability continues to be pursued and he is still required to fulfill all his legal obligations to the government,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said Tuesday.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue is trying to collect around P2.2 billion from Pacquiao, the wealthiest member of the House of Representatives on paper.
But in a curious turn of events, President Benigno Aquino invited Pacquiao to a shooting contest at the Presidential Security Group’s firing range last December 21.
He was paired by the President with no less than Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, with whom he had engaged in a word war over his alleged tax deficiency.
Coloma earlier described the affair as a “friendly engagement,” which “simply proves that the President does not harbor any ill will against Representative Pacquiao despite the fact that the BIR is making him accountable for reported deficiencies in his income tax payments.”
“Joining a sports activity where the President is present does not stop or deter the BIR from pursuing its case against Representative Pacquiao,” Coloma said in a statement on Tuesday.
Henares had said she did not discuss the tax case with Pacquiao during the shooting contest, apparently a regular fare at the Palace.
“We didn’t discuss his case,” she said. “We didn’t talk shop, just like I never talk shop with the President during these Saturday sessions at the firing range, unless I’m asked to.”
The United States’ Internal Revenue Service is also demanding around $18 million in alleged back taxes from Pacquiao.
But his US lawyers had said that the federal tax lien issued by the IRS was “in the process of being released.”
“Many of those reports have contained inaccurate and misleading information and were triggered by the filing of a federal tax lien,” they said in a statement posted at The Ring magazine’s website.
“The lien is in the process of being released by the Internal Revenue Service.”
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