Again, Mikey Arroyo, wife enter no plea in tax evasion case
Insisting that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) brought defective cases against them, Ang Galing Part-list Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo and his wife, Angela Arroyo, refused to enter pleas during their arraignment in a Quezon City court Thursday.
“The criminal information was defective, and we did not want to dignify it,” the Arroyos’ lawyer, Ruy Alberto Rondain, told reporters after the hearing on the tax evasion case against the Arroyos at the 100th branch of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
The Arroyos asked the court not to read the charges against them. Rondain explained that the Arroyos were “highly intelligent” and understood the criminal information brought against them.
Judge Marie Christine Jacob allowed the reading of the charges to be waived, and later ordered the court to enter pleas of not guilty for the Arroyo couple.
The court set the preliminary conference on May 21 and the pretrial on June 7.
The BIR brought tax evasion charges against the couple for failure to file income tax returns for several years.
Besides failing to file returns for 2008 and 2009, Mikey Arroyo, son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, also failed to provide accurate income information for 2005, the BIR said.
Angela Arroyo, the BIR said, did not file returns from 2003 to 2009.
The BIR brought the same charges against the Arroyos in the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA). At the hearing on this case on Wednesday, the Arroyos also refused to enter pleas. The court entered not-guilty pleas for them.
Rondain told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview that the cases in the (CTA) and those in the Quezon City court are “basically the same,” the difference being the amounts involved.
He said that in tax litigation, cases involving more than P1 million are filed with the CTA and cases involving less than P1 million are filed with local courts.
Rondain declined to explain further, even why he considered the charges defective.
A check with RTC Branch 100 showed that Mikey Arroyo’s alleged failure to file a tax return in 2008 resulted in a “basic deficiency income tax” of P644.520.01, exclusive of surcharge and interest.