Pacquiao to BIR: Let’s slug it out in court
The stakes are high, but it’s a fight Manny Pacquiao does not want.
The Filipino boxing sensation is facing criminal charges for his alleged failure to submit proper documents on his earnings to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
If found guilty, Pacquiao could face up to two years in jail.
Pacquiao said that if he had his way, he would rather slug it out in the boxing ring with the BIR regional director who “railroaded” the tax charges against him.
But since it would be a lopsided victory, Pacquiao said he would instead go to court.
“Hindi ko naman puede hamunin ang regional director ng suntukan dahil knockdown siya sigurado so daanin na lang sa legal na proseso para patas ang laban [I can’t challenge the regional director to a fistfight because it will surely be a knockdown, so I’ll just follow the legal process to be fair],” Pacquiao told a press conference in Makati Monday.
The BIR last month filed criminal charges against Pacquiao for ignoring an order to submit records of his earnings.
But he vowed to question the legality of the tax case filed against him even if it takes him to the Supreme Court.
“Why the BIR singled me out smacks of bad faith designed to tarnish my reputation. In just one instance, the BIR has tarnished my name,” Pacquiao, 33, told reporters.
Pacquiao refused to elaborate when pressed on why he thought he was being harassed, and called on President Benigno Aquino III to sack those behind the tax case.
“I shall rise to the occasion and I shall fight this case until the last and final round. We will fight,” he said.
Pacquiao, who was flanked by no less than 10 lawyers led by New Era University College of Law Dean Abraham Espejo and former Justice Secretary Artemio Tuquero, noted that the case had cost him millions of dollars in endorsements.
“We can’t reveal the names of the companies. What is certain is that Pacquiao lost and will lose endorsements amounting possibly to millions of dollars,” Remigio Roxas, one of Pacquiao’s lawyers, said.
Pacquiao’s camp said their immediate course of action would be to ask for the nullification of the subpoena issued to Pacquiao requiring him to present proof of income for 2010, including for his fights against Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito.
“We are going to contest the validity of the subpoena and secure a ruling declaring it as null and void, so in effect the criminal case is without basis,” Espejo said.
He pointed out that the case filed on March 8 against Pacquiao in the prosecutor’s office in Koronadal, South Cotabato, was rushed, as Pacquiao was not given time to answer the letter of authority and the subpoena.
“Worse, the letter of authority, along with the subpoena for income-related documents, was served on a person not known to Pacquiao,” Espejo said. With a report from AFP
Originally posted: 7:18 pm | Monday, March 26th, 2012
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