MANILA – Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao should “walk the talk,” Malacañang said Thursday after the boxer-senator’s previous tax evasion case was revived.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statement that Pacquiao’s multibillion-peso tax deficiencies for years 2008 and 2009 is indeed a “form of corruption”.
“You have to walk the talk. If you are against corruption, bakit ikaw mismo eh hindi nagbabayad ng buwis (why did you fail to pay the right taxes), which is really a form of corruption dahil ikaw ay (because you are), at the same time, a public officer,” Roque said in an online press briefing on Thursday.
In a taped meeting with Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) executives and government officials aired on Wednesday, Duterte said Pacquiao should also be considered as a “corrupt” public official for having a total of PHP2.2 billion underpayment in taxes.
Duterte’s fresh tirade against Pacquiao came amid their apparent tiff that stemmed from the senator’s claim that corruption in government persists.
In 2013, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) lodged a tax evasion case against Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee for alleged tax deficiencies in 2008 and 2009.
The BIR claimed Pacquiao had a total of PHP2.26-billion underpaid taxes for 2008 and 2009, including those for his earnings in his boxing matches overseas.
Pacquiao’s total tax liabilities blew up to PHP3.29 billion due to penalties and surcharges.
Roque said Duterte’s latest verbal attack against Pacquiao is not a form of “revenge.”
“Hindi po iyan resbak. Matagal na po kaso niya iyan sa BIR. Kaya nga po sinasabi ni Presidente, akala ko ba ikaw eh anti-corruption (That’s not a revenge. That’s a case filed before the BIR. That’s why the President is asking him if he is really anti-corruption),” he said.
Duterte earlier challenged Pacquiao to expose corruption in government by identifying offices involved in irregularities.
In response, Pacquiao named the departments of social welfare, health, energy and environment as corrupt-ridden agencies.
Duterte, while he admitted that he could not stop the irregularities within government offices “overnight,” said he is trying his “very best” to stop corruption. (PNA)