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House to probe BIR anomaly

By ELLSON A. QUISMORIO

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that officials in higher places could very well find themselves in hot water in connection with the lawmakers’ upcoming probe on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) tax reduction anomaly.

“Definitely yes [there is involvement of other ranking officials],” Alvarez said in an interview over DZRH.

It can be recalled that the Speaker has been prodding the House Committees on Ways and Means and Good Government and Public Accountability to conduct a joint inquiry on the BIR’s reduction of Del Monte Philippines Inc.’s (DMPI) tax deficiencies from P29 billion to a measly P65.4 million.

“Eh hindi nga natin alam baka kung saan pa umabot ‘yang imbestigasyon na ‘yan,” noted the Speaker, hands down President Duterte’s most trusted man in the legislature.

It can be recalled that BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay and 17 other agency officials were charged with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged reduction of the tax liabilities of DMPI.

DMPI has denied the purported tax irregularities as alleged in the plunder complaint filed by a certain Danilo Lihaylihay.

Aside from the 18 BIR officials, Lihaylihay also charged Dulay’s chief of staff Gaudencio Mendoza Jr., who allegedly gave the green light to DMPI to pay only R65.4 million, which is a pittance compared to the R29 billion it owed to the government.

The covered tax period is 2011 to 2013.

Asked who he thinks are the ranking officials with possible involvement, the Speaker gave this response without mentioning names: “There are possibilities.”

In the light of the controversy with the BIR, Alvarez appealed to his fellow public officials to reciprocate Duterte’s hard work by helping in his efforts to rid the government of corruption.

“Puwede naman akong pakuya-kuyakoy na lang ‘di ba? Naaawa din naman ako sa Pangulo dahil nagtatrabaho siya ng maayos at talagang seryoso sa paggawa ng trabaho n’ya para sa bayan tapos merong ganitong klase ng opisyal na nagsasamantala eh kailangang tulungan ko rin ang Pangulo,” he said.

Quirino lone district Rep. Dakila “Dax” Cua and Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel, chairmen of the Ways and Means and Good Government panels, respectively, have both positively received the Speaker’s call for an investigation.

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