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People's Champ Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao

People’s Champ knocked out by PH tax authorities

People's Champ Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao
Philippines’ People’s Champ Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – After the unanimous decision win over Brandon Rios last Saturday night (Nov. 23, 2013) in China, in the process winning universal praise for lifting the morale of his calamity-hit countrymen, top boxing star and lawmaker Manny Pacquiao who generated millions of dollars over the course of his sports career (including an $18 million payday) now faces tax evasion case after being targeted by the tax bureau of the Philippine Government.

The “People’s Champ” was virtually knocked out by tax authorities after his accounts have been prozen by the bureau after in liue of allegations that he failed to pay $50.2 million in taxes for his fights in the United States from year 2008 to 2009.

“This is harassment. I am not a criminal or a thief. I am not hiding anything. I will face my problems as they come. I have already paid my taxes in America. Had I not paid the correct taxes they (US authorities) would have come after me and I would not have been able to travel there,” Pac Man said.

After his return, the Peoples’ Champ was stunned to learn his accounts had been frozen, and on Tuesday he asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to reconsider what he described as an “arbitrary order.”

Pacquiao said he could not even help in the relief efforts for Yolanda victims as a result of the freezing of his accounts. Pacquiao said “I cannot withdraw even a single centavo of my own money. I cannot use it even to help.”

“Before the garnishment, I did not receive a single letter or warning from tax authorities,” Pacquiao said in a hastily called news conference in General Santos City.

On the other hand, BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said that they (BIR) gave him two years to question the tax assessment and submit documents but only P1.1 million were garnished, counting on the responses of two banks.

“I don’t know why I am being singled out,” the Saranggani representative (People’s Champ Movement-UNA) said in a mix of English and Filipino. “The BIR claims I earned more than what I actually did, without any evidence to back it up.”

Meanwhile, Pacquiao said that he told his lawyers to do all legal means to lift the decision so that he could extend assistance to the victims of the calamities and to support the financial needs of his family.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.