Govt vs Mighty Corp: A fight against corruption
The tax that we pay to the government is an important tool that they use to perform their duty and responsibilities to the people. The government projects for the poor, the campaign to ensure our safety and the infrastructure being built for our comfort all come from the taxes that the government collect from us.
The thing is this, if there are people who avoid paying their taxes, then there would be less money for the government programs that benefit Filipinos as well.
And think about this, if Filipinos who have low income can pay their taxes properly, what excuse could rich businessmen possibly have to justify avoiding correct tax payments?
This is now the dilemma of the Mighty Corp., a tobacco company caught for using alleged fake cigarette tax stamps and being accused of tax evasion worth billions.
Now that the government is set to gather evidence against Mighty Corp. and file a case against them, I believe it is also necessary to ask how long has this been going on and how much tax have they really avoided to pay? Why does it seem that the government is only acting now when allegations against the company had already surfaced back in 2014 when Kim Henares was the BIR Commissioner? Does the seeming inaction of the previous administration against this company show corruption on various government agencies like Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs?
Last 2014, Kim Henares said that “The burden of proof rests on PMI and PMFTC, they should prove that Mighty has evaded the government. If they cannot prove their allegation, then they may be liable for libel or slander.”
However, while it’s true that the burden of proof is on Philip Morris International (PMI), isn’t it part of the responsibility of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to investigate possible cases which involve tax evasion and use of fake tax stamps?
Personally, I think this statement alone shows that Kim Henares took the side of Mighty Corp. back then because how could someone who was aggressive on the tax payment of Manny Pacquiao, a man who was giving honor to our country, cowed before Mighty Corp. who was accused of evading tax and using fraudulent stamps to fool the government?
It must also be clarified what happened to the previous probe on the corporation, because if it’s true that they are still practicing what they were doing before, then it’s safe to say that no tangible action was executed before to prevent them from fooling the government again.
I believe that this case is also a make or break situation for the current administration, this could be the epitome of their fight against corruption and those who are making a fool out of the government; or this could be used against them to show that there were no changes when it comes to treatment of rich businessmen even if they broke the law and that they are not serious in their fight against corruption.
I am, therefore, issuing a challenge to the government to make things right the second time around. Don’t make the same mistake that the previous administration did which was favoring the oligarchs at the expense of the ordinary people.
Weed out from government agencies those who have been touched by corruption; because I was informed that there are people from the previous administration who are still in government agencies, the same people who were part of the corruption in letting Mighty Corp. go unscathed.
While it’s important that they still pay the tax that they owe the government, it must not just stop there. Cases should be filed against them, government agencies should be cleansed from corrupt individuals, and extreme measure must be implemented to ensure that things like this will never happen again. Send a clear message that no matter who you are, no matter how powerful you are, and whether you are rich or poor, you cannot escape the law nor can you bend it even just a little bit.
The conclusion here is this, you may be powerful, you may have a lot of connections, you may think of yourself as high and Mighty but this does not give you the license to escape the tax responsibilities especially if ordinary Filipinos are giving their fair share of tax contributions. You may have gotten away with this in the previous administrations but I believe that this is where it all end. I am challenging the government to make us all believe, make the ordinary people believe, that there is no price to justice and that they are serious in their fight against corruption and the people who seeks to corrupt people from the government.