By AC Nicholls
There is no way the Bureau of Internal Revenue could garnish a portion of boxing champ and Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao's assets.
This is the strong statement made by Pacquiao's legal counsel Tranquil Salvador, who insisted that Pacquiao's camp has already submitted to the BIR the document required: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) certification of Pacquiao's taxes paid in the United States.
But BIR commissioner Kim Henares affirms that there are only two options for Pacquiao at this point if he wants the P2.2 billion tax deficiency case dismissed: Either Pacquiao pays up, or he submits a certified true copy of the filing at IRS, which is the BIR's counterpart, officially stating that Pacquiao indeed paid taxes there.
Boxing promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank came to Pacquiao's defense, saying the Filipino boxer does not owe the Philippine government anything: "As I am sure people appreciate, obtaining certified copies of documents from the IRS takes time. Manny made the formal request to the IRS and we have every expectation that the necessary documents will be furnished to the BIR very soon."
The BIR issued the warrant of distraint and levy against the couple Emmanuel and Jinkee Pacquiao in July this year to allow the agency to recover the equivalent of P2.2 billion tax liability, in properties and cash deposited with various banks.
BIR however, insists only P1.1 million pesos were garnished, as some of the banks have yet to respond to the warrant issued.
Because of the warrant, Pacquiao claimed, he and his wife, Jinkee, have lost access to their bank accounts in the country.
Salvador said that, while refusing to pay billions in the purported back taxes, the boxing icon agreed to pay the Value Added Tax of his prize winnings worth about P40 million. He has so far paid P8 million.
Pacquiao's camp questioned BIR's action with the Court of Tax Appeals. The court will hold its third hearing on the matter next week.
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Pia Hontiveros, Chief Correspondent and anchor of Solar Network News and News.Ph, presents the Solar News and Current Affairs year-ender special: On the Cusp of Change. A deafening silence, not out of a loss for words but a grief that cannot be spoken, for thousands lost to a super typhoon ... A muted pain from a powerful tremor that violently shook the heart of the nation ... An unspeakable anger over pork barrel that fueled a political maelstrom ... These and other stories from the extraordinary challenging year that was.