Duterte on Pacquiao’s P2.2-B tax case: ‘I’ll check it… but won’t go after him’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he would “check” the P2.2 billion tax case of Senator Manny Pacquiao but will not run after the lawmaker, although he mentioned this while noting that those who “cheat” the government makes them “more corrupt.”
The President’s latest jab on the boxing superstar-turned-senator stemmed from the previous pronouncement of Pacquiao that corruption has persisted under the administration of Duterte.
“Itong si Pacquiao, out of the blue, sinabi niya na corrupt. By the way, I remember he has a tax evasion case. And he is been assessed to pay P2.2 billion ang utang niya na hindi niya binayaran ang gobyerno,” Duterte said in a taped meeting with the members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) aired Wednesday.
(Out of the blue, Pacquiao claimed corruption. By the way, I remember he has a tax evasion case. And he has been assessed to pay P2.2 billion as his debt that he has yet to pay the government.)
“Of all these fights, lahat na ‘yan considered since the beginning. Maraming away ‘yan and billion ‘yung kinita niya.”
(Of all these fights, all were considered since the beginning. There were many fights and he earned billions.)
Duterte continued: “Not because gusto ko siyang habulin, ayaw ko. Sabi kasi niya corrupt, eh ‘di kung corrupt kami, ikaw when you cheat the government, then you are a corrupt official lalo na. I remember merong kaso siya, it’s still I think with the courts but I’ll check it.”
(It’s not because I want to go after him. I don’t want to. But he claimed there’s corruption. If we’re corrupt, you, as a person who cheat the government, you are a corrupt official. I remember he has a case, I think it’s still with the courts but I’ll check it.)
In 2018, Pacquiao already won a favorable ruling before the Court of Tax Appeals after it ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to stop the collection of billions worth of tax against the senator and his wife Jinkee.
The tax assessment that was originally P2.26 billion increased to P3.29 billion due to surcharges and penalties.
Pacquiao recently alleged that there is corruption in various government agencies, specifically, the Departments of Health, Social Welfare and Development, Energy, and Environment and Natural Resources.
Since then, the lawmaker has been a subject of the President’s tirades in his televised speeches.
But Pacquiao denied he was “attacking” Duterte, saying he only wants to work with the President in his crackdown against corruption.
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