The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – This is one fight he will see to the last round. The fighting words are from world boxing icon and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, sounding deeply hurt by a contempt case from the Bureau of Internal Revenue that he said made him look like a tax evader.
“Buti pa ang internal revenue bureau ng America nirerespeto ako. Ang BIR natin, ginaganito ako [The US internal revenue agency showed me more respect. But our own BIR is doing this to me],” Pacquiao noted the irony in a press conference at the Manila Peninsula.
Pacquiao said he will definitely not back down from this fight, and his lawyers will prove he has always paid the correct taxes.
He lamented that some bureaucrats are distorting the meaning of President Benigno Aquino III’s “Daang Matuwid” (Straight Path) campaign, and asked him to fire them.
Pacquiao earned a contempt charge from the BIR’s Region 12 office for failing to submit certain tax documents sought by the agency. “I will fight to the last round,” Pacquiao declared.
The BIR, he said, had destroyed his image and integrity before the whole world.
Dean Abraham Espejo of the New Era University College of Law said the boxing champ, listed in previous years among the biggest taxpayers, agreed that Pacquiao got a raw deal from the BIR. “He's a hero, he's a pride of the country and this is what the government does to him.”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s lawyers are contemplating filing counter charges against BIR, specifically Region 12 Director Rozil Lozares whom Pacquiao accused of harassing him.
“Pag hinamon ko ng suntukan tiyak knockout, wala sila laban sa akin. Kaya daanin nalang sa legal [If I challenge them in the ring, it will be a sure knockout, so we’ll just fight in the legal arena].”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao is confident the BIR case will not affect his next fight, with Tim Bradley on June 9.