Libel cases filed vs Tulfo, Manila Times
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar Dulay on Thursday filed libel and cyberlibel complaints against The Manila Times and its columnist, Ramon “Mon” Tulfo for a series of columns published in August.
In a statement, Dulay said Tulfo had “false, reckless and defamatory” allegations that maligned not only the BIR chief but also the country’s biggest tax-collection agency as a whole.
Aside from Tulfo, the complaints for three counts of libel and seven counts of cyberlibel lodged before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office included as coaccused Manila Times president and chief executive Dante Francis Ang II, and editors Rene Bas, Blanca Mercado, Nerilyn Tenorio, Leena Chua, Arnold Belleza and Lynette Luna.
Dulay said he had sought P20 million in moral damages, which “will be donated to L’Arche (Ang Arko ng Pilipinas Inc.), a community dedicated to taking care of mentally handicapped children.”
“The Tulfo column ‘My Line of Sight: Conversations between two BIR execs reveals all,’ contains malicious, sweeping and unfounded accusations to the effect that under my stewardship as BIR commissioner, there was rampant corruption and I have allegedly ‘skeletons in the closet at the graft-ridden agency,’” Dulay explained.
Since the three column pieces written by Tulfo were published not only in the newspaper but also in the paper’s online version and its social media accounts like Facebook, Dulay filed a cyberlibel complaint as well.
According to Dulay, Tulfo’s articles were “undoubtedly false and defamatory” as they “not only directly pictured me as a corrupt official, an animal, a thief, minion of Satan, greedy bastard, but also maliciously portrayed me as a ‘criminal’ to the effect that I made billions of pesos in connection with the transactions of Mighty Cigarettes Corp. and Del Monte Foods Corp.”
Tulfo’s second column that came out on Aug. 8 “alleged that there was a giving of bribe of multibillion peso tax cases with delinquent corporations and had pictured [me] as an ‘insatiable greedy extortionist, a cheat and a corrupt official in [President] Digong’s government,’” Dulay said.
As for the latest column that attacked Dulay dated Aug. 20, the BIR chief noted that Tulfo “called for a corruption probe against [me] regarding Del Monte’s ‘compromised’ payment of P65 million instead of the ‘huge’ delinquent tax amounting to P8.7 billion.”
“Clearly, Tulfo did not ascertain the truth of his facts. In truth, the Del Monte case never reached the CTA (Court of Tax Appeals) and, as I emphasize, there was no compromise. The collection was based on a series of assessments based on Revenue Procedures and delegated authority. These assessments were based on documents submitted as part of the revenue procedures. Thus, we cannot just make up a collection amount without evidence to support it,” Dulay said.
The BIR chief also sought from the Bureau of Immigration a precautionary hold departure order against the columnist.
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