Duterte pushes settlement of tax cases
President Rodrigo Duterte says he is open to compromise settlements of large tax evasion cases instead of fighting lengthy court battles because the country urgently needs money to build hospitals in far-flung areas.
“The law allows a compromise and I will allow compromise,” he said in a speech on Friday before the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Pasay City.
He said he had yet to convince Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Caesar Dulay to agree to compromise settlements with tax evaders.
He said he was not eyeing a “particular party” to reach a settlement with. “Whoever it may be, we can enter into a compromise. I’m suggesting it so I can use the money,” he added.
The President said the money from tax settlements would be used to build hospitals in Basilan and Jolo, and to upgrade Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila, which specializes in maternal and newborn care.
Mr. Duterte, a former government prosecutor, said tax cases took a long time to resolve in court, especially with appeals being part of the process.
“It will be decided 10 years from now. I need the money now, not 10 years from now [when] I’m not around,” he said.
He stressed, however, the amount of the compromise settlement must be “reasonable.” He did not elaborate.
Mr. Duterte publicly broached the idea of settling tax deficiencies in the case of homegrown cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corporation. He said Mighty could pay P3 billion to settle its arrears.
Dominguez, however, opposed the proposal of Mr. Duterte, who had deferred to the stand of his finance manager.
“I have yet to convince them to compromise,” he said. “It is not illegal. It is not unlawful for me to suggest this because rather than, you know, if they choose to fight it in court. And it is a very slow process. I would rather that a compromise be made.”
The BIR had since filed a P9.564 billion tax evasion case against Mighty and its officials.
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