PACQUIAO HANDS MONEY, BIBLES TO TYPHOON VICTIMS

The former eight-title world champion toured Samar with his own aid caravan after spending the night on Saturday in a tent city in Guiuan, the first town to be struck by the typhoon, an Agence France-Presse reporter with the convoy saw. Pacquiao attended a prayer meeting in Guiuan early Sunday with survivors, and later handed out Bibles and food packages containing rice, noodles and tinned meat. “Let us find hope in God’s Grace to help us get back on our feet and recover from the devastation,” he said.

ALSO: Pacquiao needs compassion, lawyer says

Boxing icon and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has no intention of demanding special treatment from the government in connection with the tax problem he is facing with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Lawyer Tranquil Salvador, legal counsel for Pacquiao, said the ring hero only needs compassion, not special treatment from the government.

ALSO: Noy to Pacman: Pay up, shut up

President Aquino yesterday urged boxing legend Manny Pacquiao to face his tax problems rather than cry political harassment in the media. Aquino said the tax case against Pacquiao had been pending for two years and bringing up the issue at this time should not be construed as political harassment. “Why would he be harassed? Where is the logic there? I understand the (frozen) accounts total P1.1 million. What is that compared to all of his winnings?” Aquino said.


Pacquiao hands money, Bibles to typhoon victims December 1, 2013 9:59 pm


Boxing champ Manny Pacquiao distributes relief goods to typhoon victims in Samar, asking them to find hope in God’s grace. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

GUIUAN, EASTERN SAMAR, DECEMBER 2, 2013 (MANILA TIMES) Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao handed out Bibles, tinned food and cash Sunday to lift people’s spirits in areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

The former eight-title world champion toured Samar with his own aid caravan after spending the night on Saturday in a tent city in Guiuan, the first town to be struck by the typhoon, an Agence France-Presse reporter with the convoy saw.

Pacquiao attended a prayer meeting in Guiuan early Sunday with survivors, and later handed out Bibles and food packages containing rice, noodles and tinned meat.

“Let us find hope in God’s Grace to help us get back on our feet and recover from the devastation,” he said.

In two instances during the drive around the devastated areas of Samar, Pacquiao had the convoy stop at coastal communities where homes had been torn to pieces by the typhoon’s winds of up to 315 kilometers per hour and tsunami-like storm surges.

He handed out P1,000-bills each time to families who are now living in makeshift shelters.

Yolanda left nearly 7,400 people dead or missing, with more than four million others displaced, according to an official tally.

Pacquiao, who is also a second-term member of the House of Representatives with ambitions to run for president someday, is scheduled to lead the aid caravan to neighbouring Leyte island on Sunday night.

He lifted the country’s spirits a week ago with a comeback victory over American boxer Brandon Rios in Macau, following three straight defeats that had raised speculation the 34-year-old’s boxing career was over.

Pacquiao, the only man to win world boxing titles in eight different weight divisions, made the trip despite complaining on Tuesday that the government’s Bureau of Internal Revenue had frozen all his bank accounts, forcing him to borrow money to buy relief goods.

The bureau is threatening Pacquiao with a $50 million bill for unpaid taxes in 2008 and 2009, saying it may otherwise seize his assets.

The boxer says he paid the appropriate taxes in the United States, where the money was earned.

Pacquiao, a former street kid, was listed last year by Forbes magazine as the 14th highest-paid athlete globally, with an estimated $34 million in earnings. AFP

FROM MANILA DAILY BULLETIN

Pacquiao needs compassion, lawyer says by Ben Rosario December 1, 2013 (updated)


HELPING HAND FROM MANNY (AP) – Boxing icon Rep. Manny Pacquiao (center) pours rice into a bag at a relief center in General Santos City, on Nov. 28, 2013. Pacquiao joined volunteers in repacking relief goods for the victims of super-typhoon “Yolanda.”

Manila, Philippines – Boxing icon and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has no intention of demanding special treatment from the government in connection with the tax problem he is facing with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Lawyer Tranquil Salvador, legal counsel for Pacquiao, said the ring hero only needs compassion, not special treatment from the government.

In a news forum in Quezon City, Salvador disclosed that Pacquiao, who is currently on a humanitarian mission in typhoon-stricken Eastern Visayas, has no intention of taking advantage of his unprecedented contributions to Philippine sports or his popularity in facing the tax issue.

The BIR has issued notices of levy and distraint to prevent the Mindanao lawmaker from accessing deposits in at least five bank accounts to ensure payment of P2.2 billion in allegedly unpaid taxes from Pacquiao’s earnings in 2009.

The BIR directive met Pacquiao on his return from a successful ring comeback last Sunday in Macau.

All Taxes Paid

Salvador said the world-famous Filipino ring fighter is totally convinced he has paid all his tax obligations on time since he started winning enormous purses out of his successful international fights.

Tax payments made by Pacquiao were the following: 2008, P100 million; 2010, P164 million; 2011, P467 million; and 2012, P404 million.

The BIR claimed it has not received the lawmaker’s tax payments in his fights abroad in 2009.

Pacquiao won two big ticket fights during that year against Miguel Cotto and British champion Ricky Hatton.

Pacquiao belied BIR’s claim and appealed Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares’ decision to issue revenue notices to force collection of over P2 billion in tax principal and penalties.

Salvador stressed that while Pacquiao has become a ring idol and hero among Filipino and international fans and recently, a symbol of hope to typhoon victims, he has no intention to take advantage of these in his bid to clear himself from the tax mess.

Give Us A Chance

“Just give us a chance to be heard, give us the right to due process, and judicial courtesy,” said Pacquiao’s counsel.

He said the BIR directive has also affected Pacquiao’s congressional staff and scholars because the revenue agency has stopped withdrawal of funds from the solon’s banks.

“Ang district staff niya hindi pa sumusweldo, pati allowance ng congressional staff sa House of Representatives nadamay kasi naka-deposit ang pera sa bangko niya,” claimed Salvador.

Salvador said his client’s salary, which is distributed to his scholars, and congressional funds are in one of his banks because the money for office expenses are being advanced to congressmen.

He also disclosed that Pacquiao’s camp has already communicated with the US government for the release of a copy of his tax deductions from his fight purses in 2009.

Political Heat

Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said Pacquiao started feeling the heat from the BIR two weeks after the May, 2013 elections.

Binay – chairman of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), a party Pacquiao chose to join last year after his stint with the Nacionalista Party (NP) – disclosed this yesterday after leading the wreath-laying ceremony for the celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio at the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila.

Binay said that based from his conversations with the boxing superstar, Pacquiao started getting notices from the BIR concerning his alleged P2.2 billion of unpaid taxes from his bouts in the United States in 2008 and 2009, just two weeks after his People’s Champ Movement-United Nationalist Alliance (PCM-UNA) lineup dominated the local elections in Sarangani and General Santos City.

Timing Is Suspect

Thus, the timing of the issue, as narrated by Pacquiao, is suspect, Binay said.

Pacquiao was being aggressively recruited by another political party last year, according to Binay but the boxing icon chose to join PDP-Laban. Binay’s PDP-Laban had joined forces with former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) to form the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

“Pagdating ng resulta ng halalan, nanalo sila Manny, tinalo ang kabilang partido, kaya meron siyang agam agam at pangamba, dalawang linggo pagkatapos ng halalan, eto na,” Binay said. (Manny had some apprehensions and suspicions because these issues came out two weeks after they won over the other party in the elections.)

Pacquiao’s lineup had a big win over the administration party, Liberal Party, bets in Sarangani and General Santos City in the May elections.

Nonetheless, Binay said he hopes Pacquiao’s problem with the BIR will be ironed out soon. (With a report from JC Bello Ruiz)

Noy to Pacman: Pay up, shut up By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 29, 2013 - 12:00am 68 992 googleplus0 293

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino yesterday urged boxing legend Manny Pacquiao to face his tax problems rather than cry political harassment in the media.

Aquino said the tax case against Pacquiao had been pending for two years and bringing up the issue at this time should not be construed as political harassment.

“Why would he be harassed? Where is the logic there? I understand the (frozen) accounts total P1.1 million. What is that compared to all of his winnings?” Aquino said.

“At the end of it, maybe, and with all due respect to Congressman Pacquiao, if he believes that he has complied with all the necessary rules and all the necessary laws, then I’m sure he has all the evidence,” the President said.

Aquino said the issue was that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) had been asking Pacquiao to answer the case for the past two years.

“It’s quite cavalier not to respond to legitimate summonses by the BIR,” Aquino said.

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While Pacquiao earns abroad and pays taxes there, Aquino said the tax rates in the Philippines are different, and this difference has to be made up.

“So if he has – if he did right, then I’m sure he will be able to prove that he did right, and therefore there is no issue. So the way to settle it is to answer all of these queries by the BIR and not to engage in a media war. The media will not decide who is right or wrong. It will be our courts eventually, if it gets to that, who will decide.”

‘Do we have all his money?’

BIR Commissioner Kim Henares also denied harassing Pacquiao, saying it is the agency’s job to determine, assess and collect taxes as well as investigate individuals and organizations that violate tax laws.

She fired back at Pacquiao for claiming that his bank deposits were frozen by the BIR over a P2.2-billion tax case.

Henares said Pacquiao should not use the BIR as an excuse if he could not use his own money to help Typhoon Yolanda victims since his accounts had been allegedly frozen.

Pacquiao claimed he had to borrow money to help the victims since he could not access all his accounts, including his wife’s, due to the garnishment warrant issued by the BIR two weeks ago in connection with his tax case.

Henares, however, explained the warrant of garnishment on Pacquiao’s assets involved only P1.1 million of his bank deposits.

“He’s making it appear that he cannot pay his staff’s salary, he cannot continue scholarships, he cannot give relief to the Yolanda victims because of us. But the only thing that we have of his money is P1.1 million. So how can he say that he cannot do all these things because we have all his money?” Henares said.

“Instead of accusing us of singling him out, I do not need his thanks but I think he should appreciate the leeway given him. We have given him as much leeway as we can,” she added.

Pacquiao reportedly earned $67 million or about P2.9 billion from his two bouts in 2012.

In 2008, Pacquiao’s gross income reached P1.5 billion, which involved earnings from his matches abroad, his share in income from pay-per-view cable services that aired his fights, and his various endorsements.

For 2009, the boxing champ’s total unpaid tax liabilities amounted to P1.4 billion.

Henares said the BIR has no mandate to ask for any certification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the US government regarding the taxes paid by Pacquiao.

In reply to the statements made by Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, Henares said all Filipino taxpayers are required to file tax returns containing detailed financial and personal information.

“It is the obligation of the taxpayer to substantiate his deduction. He (Pacquiao) should be the one to get it (tax documents), not the BIR. By the way, isn’t he (Arum) the manager, isn’t that his job?” Henares said.

Arum said in an earlier interview on ANC that Henares should have asked the IRS for the document herself.

Arum said the governments of the US and the Philippines should have corresponded with each other to get the certificate, instead of putting the burden on Pacquiao to get the certificate from the US, of which he is not even a citizen.

The BIR issued a warrant of garnishment on Pacquiao’s assets following his failure to provide the bureau with a copy of the tax return filed with the IRS.

According to the BIR, Pacquiao failed to pay back taxes, plus penalties, amounting to around P2.2 billion.

So far, the BIR has been successful at freezing only two bank accounts containing a total of P1.1 million.

Henares said the BIR has been asking Pacquiao since 2010 to submit the documents to determine whether he paid the right taxes.

Pacquiao argued that he could not present original copies of the tax payments because the IRS does not issue such documents.

No criminal case

Pacquiao, one of the highest paid athletes in the world, and his wife Jinkee have filed an urgent motion before the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) to lift the warrants of garnishment in a bid to stop the BIR from freezing the bank accounts.

Pacquiao maintained they have already paid the taxes to US authorities, but the BIR said it has not received documents that would prove that the taxes have already been paid in the US.

The BIR has issued a warrant of garnishment on Pacquiao’s assets in a bid to collect the supposedly unpaid taxes of the boxer. Pacquiao’s camp filed an urgent motion asking the CTA to lift the warrant.

The CTA clarified yesterday that the BIR has not filed a tax evasion case against Pacquiao.

The tax court also reiterated its earlier statement that it has not issued a freeze order against the assets of the lawmaker.

CTA first division clerk of court Margarette Guzman said the BIR has not filed any criminal case against Pacquiao.

It was the other way around, Guzman said, with Pacquiao and wife Jinkee filing a petition for review against the BIR.

“There’s only the civil case… (that’s) when the taxpayer questions the actions and decisions of the (BIR) commissioner,” Guzman said.

Guzman said the BIR warrant “technically” froze the assets of Pacquiao, although it is not a court order.

She explained the BIR commissioner has the power to issue warrants of garnishment to collect unpaid taxes from taxpayers.

Guzman said the CTA first division has yet to rule on Pacquiao’s urgent motion.

Henares also clarified they are only after collecting the unpaid taxes from Pacquiao and they have not filed a tax evasion case.

She refused to comment, however, when asked if a tax evasion case would be filed against Pacquiao.

“I don’t want to talk about what could happen in the future. As far as I am concerned, we are just collecting taxes. Please pay us so we don’t have to go to the next decision point. Bayaran lang kami ng pagkautang niya (just pay us what is due us),” Henares said.

Acknowledge the honor

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. expressed optimism that the issue would have proper resolution as he maintained Pacquiao was being treated fairly.

Coloma said they could not possibly harass Pacquiao at this time because they also “acknowledge the honor” he brought to the country and the inspiration he gave the people, especially after the super typhoon hit the country.

Coloma stressed the issue was a matter that must be resolved by the BIR, not by Malacañang.

He added the Aquino administration is always committed to do what is right and not what is popular, without belittling the status of Pacquiao as the pride of the people.

Coloma, however, reiterated Pacquiao must also serve as a role model by showing that he is a law-abiding citizen.

Valenzuela City Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo said Pacquiao might have failed in securing the services of a good lawyer and accountant that eventually led to his tax woes.

Gunigundo said Pacquiao’s problems with the BIR appear to be on documentation.

“Maybe Pacquiao’s lawyers and accountants committed some lapses, as it appears the allegations against him have some basis,” Gunigundo said.

“I hope he’s able to resolve this with good and trusted lawyers and accountants,” he said.

San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora earlier advised Pacquiao to “get a good accountant and a good lawyer.”

Zamora said he gave the advice to Pacquiao “because the reason is many of his problems are really documentary in character.”

“I don’t think he owes the Philippine government anything. But you know I’m only reading the newspapers. He made a tremendous amount of money and of course he has to pay tremendous amount of taxes,” Zamora said. – Zinnia dela Peña, Evelyn Macairan, Janvic Mateo, Paolo Romero


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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