Claire dela Fuente. (Photo from Facebook)
MANILA – The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has found singer Claire dela Fuente (Clarita de Guzman in real life) guilty of tax evasion charges involving her bus company and sentenced her to seven years in prison.
In a 205-page decision by Associate Justice Ma. Belen M. Ringpis-Liban dated June 30 but released only on Friday, the court found the singer “guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating the tax code” in seven criminal tax cases for her liability as corporate officer in charge of the Philippine Corinthian Liner Corp. (PCLC).
“For each consolidated criminal case, she is sentenced to suffer the straight penalty of imprisonment of one year and ordered to pay a fine of PHP50,000 with subsidiary imprisonment, in case (the) accused has no property with which to meet such fine,” the court said.
The PCLC was likewise ordered to pay PHP100,000 for each of the consolidated criminal cases.
The charges stemmed from the PCLC’s failure to make and file income tax returns for taxable years 1998 to 2004 for taxes totaling more than PHP166 million.
“It is without a doubt that accused dela Fuente was well aware that operations were being conducted by PCLC, either through themselves or the smaller bus operators who were using the franchises granted exclusively to PCLC, especially since most, if not all, LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) and LTO (Land Transportation Office) approvals granted to PCLC were indeed facilitated by her,” the court said.
It added that dela Fuente “cannot escape the consequences of being a responsible officer, agent, or employee of PCLC and must be held liable for its crimes.
Associate Justices Erlinda P. Uy and Maria Rowena Modesto-San Pedro concurred in the ruling. (PNA)