BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) commissioner Kim Henares' presence during PBA games rooting for San Miguel Beer should not be taken against her.
Henares said she understandably supports the Beermen in their best-of-seven title series against Alaska since her husband, Danby Henares, happens to be the team’s assistant manager.
“Partisan? Wala, hindi naman ganun,” said Henares, shrugging off fears that her husband's association with with San Miguel Corp., one of the country’s biggest food and beverage conglomerates, compromises her position as the head of the BIR.
“Wala namang effect 'yun. I am just here to support my husband and his team,” she said.
Like her husband and the rest of the team, Henares said she also feels down after every San Miguel loss, as was the case on Sunday in Game Six which Alaska won, 87-76, to send the title series to a winner-take-all match on Wednesday.
After the loss, the country's top taxwoman finds rooting for a PBA can be a taxing experience.
“I am sad, my team lost,” said Henares, flashing her trademark smile. “San Miguel is a talented team and my husband is their assistant team manager.”
And like any other San Miguel fan, the tough taxwoman proudly wears the San Miguel shirt every game day and usually hoists the red #FearTheBeer clapper every time the Beermen score a basket.
“Yes I am rooting for San Miguel. Sana nanalo sila, para walang Game Seven. It means I have to go back on Wednesday to watch,” said the woman considered as one of President Aquino’s most efficient cabinet members.
Told about anxiety her mere presence inevitably causes among politicians, businessmen in the crowd as well as the players themselves, Henares let out a hearty laugh.
“Bakit naman sila kakabahan? I came here to watch. As long as everyone is paying the right taxes, wala naman silang dapat kabahan (ikakaba),” she assured.
Henares is waging a high-profile tax battle against Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, who the BIR claims owes the government billions in back taxes from his past winnings.
The BIR chief also hasn's spared PBA players when it comes to tax issues after filing a case against Talk 'N Text stars Jimmy Alapag and Jared Dillinger in March 2013.
The two players have since resolved their tax woes.
The matter led to a mandatory tax clinic implemented by league commissioner Chito Salud, wherein all PBA players were required to join the seminar administered by high-ranking officials of the BIR every year.
See video of interview with the Henareses:
Henares hopes Filipinos would follow the lead of the players by diligently paying their taxes in order to help create a better atmosphere for the country’s economy.
“Everyone who is a Filipino, if they pay the right taxes, they are contributing to nation building,” she said.
Meanwhile, the amiable but tough cabinet member ribbed her husband who was caught by Spin.ph camera deeply frustrated at the sidelines after Alaska's Game Six win.
“(Look at him) He is sad, they lost. (laughed) But I am sure they are going to win in Game Seven,” she added.
Mr. Henares for his part, advised everyone in the league including the fans, not to worry about the presence of her wife during San Miguel game.
“Really? (Natatakot sila?). This is just the game, this is not business. If she comes over, it’s just recreation for us,” said Mr. Henares laughing.
“Only the people that aren’t paying taxes should be afraid,” he said.