THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue on Thursday filed a P28-million tax evasion complaint against a lawyer of Andal Ampatuan Jr., a principal accused in the Maguindanao Massacre case.

Last week, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, in a report by Multimedia Director Ed Lingao, exposed that Atty. Arnel C. Manaloto had acquired eight big real properties of Andal Jr. in Davao City, in May 2011.

Certified true copies of the transfer certificate titles on the properties obtained by the PCIJ showed that Manaloto purchased the properties for only P20 million.

The P27.56-million tax evasion case against Manaloto — for taxes due, interest, surcharges, and value-added tax liability — for the year 2011 was apparently triggered by a two-part PCIJ investigative report on the wealth, and lingering hold on political and economic power, of the Ampatuan clan, three years after the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre.

The PCIJ’s Ed Lingao also produced a documantary, Lipat-Bahay, on the wealth of the Ampatuans, which aired last week on GMANewsTV.

The Ampatuan patriarch and scions are principal respondents in the Maguindanao Massacre case now pending before a Quezon City court. Fifty-eight people, including 32 media workers, died in the carnage, the worst case of election-related violence in Philippine history.

Three years hence, at least 72 candidates with Ampatuan for surname and middle name are running in the May 2013 elections. Among them are nine candidates under President Benigno Aquino’s Liberal Party, and 34 others under the United Nationalist Alliance of Vice Presiodent Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada.

At a press conference on Thursday, Commissioner Kim Henares of the Bureau of Internal Revenue said Manaloto failed to supply correct and accurate information in his income tax return, and failed to pay value-added tax for the year 2011.

A resident of Angeles City in Pampanga, Manaloto passed the bar only in 2005. He served briefly on the legal staff of former Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio.

Apart from Manaloto, the BIR also charged Erwin Carreon, a certified public accountant who examined and audited the books of accounts and other accounting records of Manaloto for 2011.

Henares said the BIR’s investigation showed that in 2011, the year Manaloto bought Andal Jr.’s properties, Manaloto declared a total income of only P1.495 million.

This evident underdeclaration of income was a “deliberate ploy to avoid having to register as a VAT taxpayer,” Henares said.

The BIR’s investigation also showed that Manaloto earned P37.97 million in revenues in 2011, but was not a registered VAT taxpayer, and did not pay VAT on his revenues.

Comment Form