Court junks Jeane Napoles' petition vs tax evasion case

By Elizabeth Marcelo

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MANILA, Philippines — The Second Division of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) Thursday dismissed the civil case that Jeane Catherine Napoles filed against the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), over her repeated failure to attend the proceedings.
 
In a short hearing Thursday afternoon, Second Division acting chairperson Associate Justice Caesar Casanova and substitute member Associate Justice Ma. Belen Ringpis-Liban granted in open court the manifestation of state prosecutor Niña Suzette Mendoza to dismiss Napoles' petition for review against the BIR due to her and her legal counsel's continued absence.
 
Thursday marked the third time that Napoles and her lawyer failed to show up in the hearing of her own petition, which she filed in May 2016.
 
Napoles' camp has also yet to submit before the court the affidavits of her intended witnesses while the prosecution team has already submitted the affidavit of its sole witness on Sept. 23, 2016.
 
Because of the repeated postponement of the hearing caused by the Napoles' absence, the court ruled to no longer set another trial date and instead dismiss the case outright.
 
Napoles' petition for review stemmed from the BIR's assessment that she has P17.46 million tax liabilities to the government in 2011, the year she supposedly bought a posh condominium unit at Ritz Carlton in Los Angeles, California worth $1.2 million or P54 million.
 
The BIR's assessment became the basis of the Department of Justice in filing tax evasion cases against Napoles in 2015 which are now pending before the CTA Third Division. She was charged with violations of Sections 254 or attempting to evade taxes and 255 or failure to file an income tax of the National Internal Revenue Code.
 
In her petition for review, Napoles said the BIR erred in its assessment as she did not have any legitimate source of income in 2011 because she was just a student at that time. Napoles also claimed that the condominium unit in the US was purchased by her parents though placed under her name.
 
Napoles is the youngest daughter of former Marines officer Jaime Napoles and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
 
Mrs. Napoles is currently detained at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City for a serious illegal detention case filed by her nephew and former employee Benhur Luy, the primary state witness in the pork barrel scam.

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