GLORIA DARED TO ACT ON HUSBAND’S TAX ARREARS

Manila, Feb. 6, 2003 - Opposition senators yesterday challenged President Arroyo to take action on the alleged failure of a company owned by her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, to pay its P1.69 million real estate tax arrears.

Minority leader Vicente Sotto III said the President should lead by example if she wants taxpayers to heed her call for faithful payments of their taxes.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said with the tax delinquency of LTA (Lourdes T. Arroyo) Inc., it is no wonder the government deficit has ballooned to over than P200 billion.

"It seems that the First Couple are tax evaders in their own right," Lacson said.

Sen. Luisa Ejercito Estrada said the President's actions should match her words.

"Iba kasi ang sinasabi niya sa ginagawa niya. Dapat iugma niya ang sinasabi niya sa ginagawa niya," she said.

Malacañang declined to comment on the alleged tax delinquency, saying it should be handled by the appropriate agency and the persons concerned.

Staffers at the Office of the First Gentleman in Malacañang said he left for the United States last week for a private visit and they have no information on when he would be back.

Lourdes T. Arroyo was the mother of the First Gentleman. She reportedly left most of her assets to the son.

Reports said LTA has failed to pay taxes on its properties in Calamba and in Cabuyao, Laguna, since Mrs. Arroyo became vice president in 1998.

The registers of deeds of Calamba and of Cabuyao have sent several demand letters to LTA's main office in Makati but have not gotten any response.

The LTA Makati office is where the law office of Mr. Arroyo is housed. (By JOAN DAIRO, Malaya)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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