Palace denies portraying Pacquiao as tax evader

Posted at 03/15/12 5:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday denied that it is portraying Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao as a tax evader, saying the government has even gone the “extra mile” for the boxing champion.

“The case filed against Manny Pacquiao is not tax evasion. It was a contempt,” said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.

“Principally, he was asked to present documents, submit documents and he failed twice. I think, we went the extra mile for Congressman Pacquiao. We gave him the courtesy,” Lacierda added.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed a case against Pacquiao after the eight-division boxing champion failed to submit his tax records to the agency.

“Unfortunately, maybe for one reason or another, hindi po nag-submit si Congressman Pacquiao ng mga dokumento. But I think, that’s something that, I think he already mentioned that he will try to submit those documents,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda was reacting to comments made by Sen. Ralph Recto, who earlier said that Pacquiao deserved “better treatment” from the tax officials.

Recto said that the BIR should not tax Pacquiao for his fight earnings anymore, because he already paid taxes to the United States Internal Revenue Services.

“His income was not generated from here, and he has already paid his taxes in the US. That would be double taxation,” Recto said.

Lacierda said that while taxes from Pacquiao’s earnings from his fights that were paid in the United States can be credited here in the Philippines, the BIR is looking into the income the boxer earned from his various endorsements.

The BIR wants to investigate 33 tax records, including Pacquiao’s annual income tax return in 2010, his book of accounts, list of assets, as well as his earnings from fights against Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey.

The agency has also asked Pacquiao to submit 29 copies of his contracts for endorsements, including contracts with Ricoa, Pagcor and PLDT.

Pacquiao has denied any wrongdoing, saying, “Wala naman tayong tinatago. Lahat ng dapat bayaran, binabayaran natin.”

Pacquiao will return to the ring on June 9 in Las Vegas against undefeated American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. -- Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

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