DOJ to create panel to handle Coronas’ tax caseBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice (DOJ) will create a three-man panel to handle the tax evasion complaint against former Chief Justice Renato Corona, daughter Ma. Carla Beatriz C. Castillo and son in law Constantino Castillo.
Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan on Thursday said Prosecutor General Claro Arellano will be the one to designate the members of the three man team.
After the creation of the panel, he said subpoena will be sent to the former chief justice, his daughter and son in law to answer the complaint filed against them by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
At Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the filing of tax evasion case against Corona was proof of the Aquino administration’s sincerity in going after tax evaders.
“Since this administration started, the filing of tax evasion cases has been ongoing. So this is our commitment to plugging the leakages in the tax administration system,” said Lacierda.
“So this is not something extraordinary. It just so happened that the personality involved is the former Chief Justice. But like we said, every other week the BIR files a tax evasion case against personalities,” said Lacierda.
He expressed confidence that BIR Commissioner Kim Henares had the goods to pin down Corona, after the BIR found that Corona failed to P120.5 million in taxes for the nine-year period.
Corona’s bank waiver, which had been brought out at the last minute at the impeachment court to turn the tide in his favor, actually did him in.
The waiver removed the legal protection afforded to depositor by the Bank Secrecy Law, compelling banks to supply BIR with “sufficient evidence” to warrant the filing.
“Henares (said) that the (pieces of) evidence were gathered based on the waiver issued by former Chief Justice Corona, and the (waiver of non-disclosure) in his SALN (Statement of assets, liabilities and net worth) submitted to the Senate. So, based on that, they decided to file a tax evasion case,” said Lacierda.
The Palace also rejected any grant of amnesty to Corona and other large taxpayers.
According to Lacierda, the position of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Henares is to pursue cases against tax evaders to be able to strengthen the tax administration system in the country.