Manila Bulletin broke the story: PACQUIAO BANK DEPOSITS FROZEN. Even when I saw the headline there was a part of me that didn’t believe it or thought they were mistaken. I was STILL giving the BIR the benefit of the doubt. The Bureau of Internal Revenue froze Pacquiao’s assets over allegations of non-payment of taxes during the 2008-09. Timing could not have been worse too, the very next day after Pacquiao beat Rios.
What makes the case obviously a pure form of harassment in the eyes of Filipinos is when and where it was supposed to have happened. The BIR was going after 2008-09 where fights in the U.S. occurred. They were questioning earnings from Pay per view from HBO and Top Rank purses. ANY OFW who has worked in the U.S. can tell you that Manny Pacquiao can’t cheat on the taxes EVEN IF he WANTED to. The system will not allow him to from beginning to end.
Every dollar of pay per view revenue is proudly published, so and so fight garnered a million or so purchases and so on. HBO has NO CHOICE but to pay the dreaded IRS, Internal Revenue Service the correct taxes dues there. TOP Rank is in the same boat. Fight purses are publicized as soon as the deal is signed and concretized. EVERYONE knows how much Pacquiao and whomever else he’s fighting is getting paid.
Before the BIR Commissioner Kim Henares was even BORN the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is far more feared by the mafia and citizens than the FBI! That’s how they prosecuted mafia king pin Al Capone through non-payment of taxes for earnings. Robert Deniro played Capone in Oscar award winning film THE UNTOUCHABLES. He has an upcoming boxing themed film with Sylvester Stallone in GRUDGE MATCH. It’s going to be Raging Bull vs Rocky.
Going back, any OFW will tell you that even before Pacquiao receives a cent from the fight purse, from the pay per view, TOP RANK and HBO are ALREADY obligated to DEDUCT taxes from it. They know that because that’s what happens every time THEY get a paycheck. It’s a painful realization once you receive your hard earned paycheck the first time and WONDER where 30% of it went that’s taxes.
IMPEDING PACQUIAO’S RELIEF EFFORTS
IF the consequence of the BIR harassment was merely the delay or difficulty on someone who is recognized as the face of the Filipino nation, maybe just MAYBE we’d be more forgiving. But the consequences are far more immediate and damaging. Pacquiao has already earmarked millions of pesos for relief goods to the victims of YOLANDA typhoon. And because Manny realizes the URGENT need to help he has actually borrowed money JUST to be able to donate. And yes, the People’s Champ will be pushing through with his relief distribution on November 30, which is Bonifacio Day. The day is auspicious Andres Bonifacio is known as The Great Plebian. By freezing Pacquiao’s assets the BIR is heartlessly IMPEDING aid to our devastated kababayan. This is the kind of mindless, heartless, unforgiving bureaucracy that we have been saddled with and is correctly IDENTIFIED with PNOY’s daang matuwid.
This is the kind of harassment and incident that sparks a revolution and call to action. It’s an injustice that creates a very painful chain of events affecting everyone. IF the BIR is truly sincere in going after bogus SALNs then why not freeze Senator Enrile’s, Jinggoy’s or Revilla’s assets? The DOJ and the Ombudsman are ALREADY investigating them.
TAX DOLLARS AT WORK
As hard as it may be to believe, I think nearly ALL Filipinos want to pay correct taxes. We all have friends and relatives who have worked and lived abroad: U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and so on. And the taxes in these countries can be an incredible burden (30-40%) but why is it that our countrymen, our family members prefer to WORK abroad in spite of these taxes?
The very consistent answer is that they SEE their tax dollars at work. Cops are there when you need them, roads and bridges are well managed there’s a true social service at work. IN New Zealand there’s a functioning health care system. My own sister in law Hazel (based in Auckland) gave birth in hospital several times without spending a cent. So as painful as it may be to pay those taxes you know the money is going to good use. You benefit from it as an individual and society as a whole.
The problem is that in spite of PNOY’s much publicized and ballyhooed Daang Matuwid, this is the same time we are rocked by a billion-peso corruption scandal in the Napoles case. Aggravating this problem is the ineptitude of the administration in managing the YOLANDA relief efforts. Foreign journalists, agencies were asking repeatedly what central AGENCY handles the transport going to and FROM the disaster areas. Which central government agency was assigning ALL relief goods going where? Malacañang could not CLEARLY answer these simple and very VITAL questions.
As a literate Filipino the immediate answer from the top of my head is the NDRRMC, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. But obviously it’s NOT functioning that way otherwise why would they even NEED to ask? AND why were so many people STILL not being reached weeks AFTER the disaster? Goods and services have been pouring in from all over the world. THIS could have been a shining hour for Mar Roxas and P-Noy. WE ALL want and need the relief efforts to WORK and function but it hasn’t. Its not just Anderson Cooper of CNN but other foreign agencies, foreign journalists are all saying the same thing.
And what does the NEXT headline say? BIR freezes Pacquiao’s assets impeding him from helping Yolanda victims. The ultimate consequence of BIR’s harassment on Pacquiao may prove to be the downfall of the whole Aquino Administration’s already sagging popularity.