Fresh off his latest boxing conquest, Manny Pacquiao came home to face another challenger: Bureau of Internal Revenue Chief Kim Henares. The Bureau of Internal Revenue says Pacquiao owes 2.2 billion pesos in taxes. Pacquiao says he paid taxes, and even gave the B.I.R. a copy of the taxes he paid in the U.S.
Much has been said, quite naturally on social media. Here are two of the sane ones:
Lots of irrelevant emotionalizing floating around on Twitter today. It's not gonna make the garnishment go away though, sorry Manny.
— ceso (@ceso) November 27, 2013
BIR boss Kim Henares is no-nonsense, cold, unsympathetic tax collector. Call her cruel but rules are rules. You earn income, you pay taxes.
— Cesar M de los Reyes (@Tito_Ces) November 27, 2013
The gist of what many saying is to lay off Pacquiao. Nothing of course can take the man’s achievements. He is also humble in victory, and in defeat. In many ways the Pacquiao story is something to achieve for. The man’s life from zero to billionaire is an extraordinary success story. And in the ring he has without a doubt united a nation, even if for only 12 rounds of boxing.
That is something.
Who likes a tax collector? Kim Henares of course is known for her zealous approach to collecting taxes. While we can argue with the B.I.R.’s success rate, and quibble at whether or not fear and intimidation are the best tools for this sort of thing, we can not doubt too her sincerity. We can even complain at how bad the system still is.
Personally, I find it reprehensible to burn unused receipts from last year; the environment and all that. It makes sense for me to pay the printer for receipts when they almost run out, not before they run out, for example. The alternative of course is a PHP50,000 peso fine, which of course none of us want to be victims– err— find ourselves in that position!
Going back to Manny Pacquiao— the B.I.R. going after his taxes and auditing them isn’t an aberration. It’s their job. Just because he is a hero, doesn’t mean he gets to go free in paying his taxes or is more protected than ordinary citizens.
Wasn’t this why we got into the whole mess that is PDAF? That rules aren’t followed? Isn’t that why there is a prevalence of corruption? Isn’t that why there are traffic jams? Isn’t that why the President instituted a no wang-wang policy on day one?
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is a hero of the people. Being a hero doesn’t mean it is an excuse not to follow the law— or any rule of the land. Change is hard and by the look of it— ordinary people are still making the transition to this new world order. Pacquiao can afford to hire lawyers to see to his case. Kim Henares could be right or wrong. If Pacquiao is innocent, that’s great! If he or some of his staff failed to do their duty? Then the law is clear on that isn’t it?