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BIR row turns into full-blown war

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BIR row turns into full-blown war

/ 05:00 AM July 15, 2017

An internal squabble in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) over the alleged sweetheart deal between the agency and multinational Del Monte Corp. has become a full-blown war between two BIR bigwigs.

BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay has been publicly asked to resign by his deputy commissioner for legal services, Clint Aranas, who claims he allowed Del Monte to pay a “pittance” of P50 million (not P100 million, as reported earlier) when it should have been charged P80 billion in delinquent taxes.

Aranas complains that Dulay and Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez have been trying to clip his powers over the alleged Del Monte tax scandal.

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Dulay and Dominguez, according to Aranas, wanted to prevent him from investigating the Del Monte scandal by taking away the BIR’s internal affairs office from the legal services.

He said Dulay and Dominguez allegedly asked Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to have the internal affairs division transferred to the Office of the Revenue Commissioner, but Diokno said no.

“At that time I didn’t know why they (Dulay and Dominguez) were trying to take the internal affairs from my office and have it transferred to the Office of the Commissioner. I only learned later they were trying to prevent me from looking into the Del Monte deal,” Aranas told this columnist.

Under the civil service rules, Aranas said, the BIR internal affairs office has the power to investigate erring officials and employees of the bureau, including the BIR chief.

Also being investigated by the internal affairs are 16 other BIR officials and employees, one of them Gaudencio Mendoza, legal adviser to the commissioner.

Aranas started a probe on the Del Monte deal after a plunder case was filed by a taxpayer against Dulay et al.

Talk is rife at the BIR that Mendoza influenced Dulay into making the tax deal with Del Monte.

Mendoza was a former official of the Department of Finance who was kicked out by then Secretary Gary Teves after he became the subject of a privilege speech by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

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Dulay, a roommate of President Digong at the YMCA dormitory in the 1960s, was a labor lawyer before his appointment to the BIR.

Aranas, on the other hand, was a topnotch lawyer handling tax cases before he accepted the President’s offer to work at the BIR.

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I’d like to congratulate my friend, Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres “Andy” Reyes Jr., on his appointment as associate justice of the Supreme Court.

The newest addition to the highest court comes from a family of magistrates and restaurateurs.

His father was former Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Sr. and his grandfather, Supreme Court Justice Alex Reyes.

Andy’s grandmother, Engracia “Aling Asyang” Reyes, founded Aristocrat Restaurant in 1936, which has since become a restaurant chain.

Trivia: Aristocrat Restaurant on Roxas Boulevard, then called Dewey Boulevard in Manila, was first named George Dewey Restaurant. But the US Commonwealth government protested because it seemed to desecrate the memory of Commodore George Dewey who won against the Spaniards in the battle of Manila Bay.

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