LAWMAKERS on Tuesday pushed for a congressional investigation of Bureau of Internal Revenue officials amid allegations of plunder leveled against them.
Reps. Dakila Cua of Quirino and Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur made the call as they joined Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in calling for a congressional probe regarding the case that stemmed from alleged reduction of tax liabilities of a company to only P65.4 million covering 2011 to 2013 despite the reported assessment for the three years reaching P29 billion in supposed tax deficiency liabilities.
A plunder case has been filed before the Ombudsman against Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay and 17 other officials and personnel for allegedly reducing the tax liabilities of Del Monte Philippines Inc. such that the government lost P29 billion in potential revenues.
“I support Speaker Alvarez’s strong stance against corruption. We will study the matter thoroughly so that we can bring out the truth,” Cua, House committee on ways and means’ chairperson, said.
Cua said the BIR must be able to explain the supposed undercollection, otherwise the internal revenue officials “will be held liable.”
Reports said that Alvarez had prepared a resolution to investigate Dulay and other top officials not only for the case involving Del Monte Philippines but also for alleged irregularities in its actions and the cases filed against homegrown cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp., which allegedly used fake tax stamps to evade payment of billions in excise taxes.
Alvarez wants to conduct the congressional probe when Congress resumes session on July 24.
Reports said taxpayer Danilo Lihaylihay last month purportedly filed a plunder case before the Ombudsman against Dulay and 17 other BIR executives, including Dulay’s chief of staff Gaudencio Mendoza Jr., who allegedly allowed Del Monte to pay only P65.4 million for taxable years 2011 to 2013 despite the assessment for the three years reaching P29 billion in supposed tax deficiency liabilities.
Pimentel, House committee on good government and public accountability chairperson, said the matter should be investigated in aid of legislation, in light of the fact that government has to raise huge revenues for its social programs.
“We are ready to support the Speaker,” Pimentel said.
Dulay earlier vowed to respond to allegations filed against him.
At the BIR, reports said Deputy Commissioner Jesus Clint Aranas issued show-cause orders to 12 revenue personnel, namely, Ofelia Yumang, Ruby Villanueva, Fatima Sarrosa, Exzaida Comentan, Lourdes Liwanag, Belinda Balagtas, Amelia Molinos, Noemi Castro, Cheryl Ann Adapon, Ramoncito Ona, Edralin Silario and Catalina Benedicto.
Aranas said he issued the show-cause orders after the case before the Ombudsman surfaced “so they can justify their actions for our evaluation.”
The Tax Informers Network Inc., in a letter addressed to the Office of the President, asked President Duterte to prosecute for plunder, through conspiracy and connivance, Dulay, Mendoza and Assistant Commissioner Teresita Mendoza of the Large Taxpayers Service, among others, for the offense alleged.