PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte brought back an old tax assessment case leveled against Manny Pacquiao in the previous decade.
“Ito lang si Pacquiao, because out of the blue he blurted out na corrupt so I am forced to… By the way, mayroon akong... I remember he has a tax evasion case," Duterte said in a PDP-Laban meeting on Wednesday. “He has been assessed to pay. P2.2 billion ang utang niya na hindi niya binayaran ang gobyerno.”
Duterte was most likely referring to Pacquiao’s previous tussles with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which assessed his taxes at P2.26 billion back in 2013, supposedly based on his dollar earnings from his prize fights from 2008 and 2009.
This amount was later increased to P3.29 billion.
However, in 2018, the Court of Tax Appeals ordered the BIR to cease and desist from collecting the amount.
War of words continues between Duterte, Pacquiao
In Wednesday’s meeting, Duterte continued: “Not because gusto ko siya habulin but sabi kasi niya corrupt. E, kung corrupt kami, e ikaw, when you cheat government, you are a corrupt official.”
The president added, “I remember merong kaso siya, it’s still I think with the courts but I’ll check it.”
Last weekend, Pacquiao revealed documents which he alleges contain proof of corruption in various government programs, including a P10.4 billion disbursement of ayuda under the Social Amelioration Program.
Pacquiao and Duterte, both partymates under PDP-Laban, have been feuding over the past few weeks, with the boxer-politician alleging corruption in key agencies like the Department of Health. Duterte, meanwhile, has been railing against Pacquiao in his public speeches.
The boxer, however, said that he was merely helping the president in his crusade against corruption.
“[N]andito po ako para tumulong sa inyo upang tukuyin ang mga ahensiya ng gobyerno na may maling gawain," said Pacquiao in a livestreamed press conference last Saturday.
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