Malacañang on Rappler's tax evasion case: Unpaid taxes must be settled

Every unpaid tax must be settled, this is what President Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement after the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed a tax evasion case against Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) and its officers.

Roque instilled that law must be adhered and implemented.

“Well, ano pong reaksiyon natin diyan kung hindi ang batas pinapatupad (Well, how else should we react if not to say that there are laws being implemented),” he said.

“Kung mayroon talagang hindi nabayarang buwis dapat managot (If there really are taxes that have not been paid, they should be held liable),” Roque added.

According to BIR, Rappler and its president Maria Ressa as well as its treasurer James Bitanga had a "willful attempt to evade or defeat tax" and a "deliberate failure to supply correct and accurate information" in its annual income tax return and value-added tax (VAT) returns for 2015.

The BIR also reported that Rappler have a cumulative tax liability amounting to Php133.84 million, which Ressa described as “ludicrous” and encouraged BIR to check "check its own records."

If recalled, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked Rappler’s certification of incorporation for alleged violation of the constitutional restriction on foreign ownership of mass media.

In a radio interview, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar also encouraged Rappler to settle its ownership issues to be permitted to cover Malacañang events just like other media.

“Talagang kailangan lang ay i-solve ng Rappler iyong kanilang issue with the Securities and Exchange Commission at doon sa Court of Appeals (Rappler should really solve their issue with the SEC and the Court of Appeals). Once they solve it, that they can reverse the decision… the CA reversed the decision then by all means they can cover,” Andanar said.

Also, the PCOO secretary reiterated that covering President Rodrigo Duterte and Malacañang events “is actually privilege, it’s not a right.”

Source: PNA

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