Peeved, Pacquiao wants to pay taxes elsewhere
GENERAL SANTOS CITY—Boxing sensation and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao now plans to transfer his tax registration to either Manila or Laguna in protest of what he perceived was harassment done by a regional director of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against him.
In a text message, Pacquiao’s chief of staff Franklin Gacal Jr. confirmed the plan, saying: “We will definitely transfer.”
When the Philippine Daily Inquirer asked where, Gacal said “Laguna or Manila.”
In 2010, Pacquiao transferred his tax registration from Pasig City to Central Mindanao.
But BIR regional director Rozil Lozares, whom Pacquiao accused of railroading the charges against him, was unfazed by the planned transfer.
“It’s not a problem. It’s his prerogative where he wants to pay his taxes. But, he can’t do it right now because he has yet to settle his problem with us. If he complies with the requirements, then he can write a letter to the BIR stating the reasons for the transfer. Then, we will evaluate,” Lozares said.
Lozares admitted that Pacquiao was one of the top individual taxpayers in the country. He, however, refused to divulge the exact amount of taxes being paid yearly by the boxing icon.
In his 2010 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), Pacquiao declared his assets at P1.13 billion ($26.3 million) and no liabilities, making him the country’s richest lawmaker.
“The transfer of his tax registration to other place, if ever he can do it, will not affect our revenue collection target,” Lozares said.
But Lozares added that Pacquiao should also expect a backlash on his image and political career.
“The local taxpayers may question why he is paying his taxes somewhere else when he is living and conducting most of his businesses here,” he said.
Lozares said Pacquiao was given three letter-requests and a subpoena before a legal action was initiated against him.
The BIR log book showed that lawyer Francisco Gacal, a member of Pacquiao’s battery of lawyers, appeared before the BIR office on February 7 but failed to submit the required books of accounts and accounting records being asked by the BIR.
On March 1, the BIR filed a criminal case before the Prosecutor’s Office of Koronadal City against Pacquiao.
“If Mr. Pacquiao is not hiding something, then he should submit all the documents required by the BIR. He is a lawmaker and we expect him to respect the law. We are just doing our mandate under the RA 2484 or the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC),” Lozares said.
The BIR official said Pacquiao was just wasting his millions by hiring topnotch lawyers to defend himself.
“All he has to do is to submit his financial records and books of accounts then we will withdraw the case filed before the City Prosecutor’s Office at Koronadal City,” Lozares said. Aquiles Z. Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao