Duterte to name big tax evaders next

Pia Ranada
Duterte to name big tax evaders next
The President has already asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue to give him a list of the country's biggest tax evaders

MANILA, Philippines – Big tax evaders be warned: you may be next on President Rodrigo Duterte’s shame campaign.

Duterte said on Monday, August 8, that he may publicly name wealthy personalities who don’t pay their taxes.

“My decision today is just waiting for the list of big taxpayers. I hope you guys who have not been paying your taxes, especially the rich, the oligarchs, kindly settle your tax cases. I would hate to read your names in public and maybe authorize your arrest,” he said in Davao City.

The President said he has already asked for the list of names from Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Cesar Dulay.

If those on the list continue not paying their taxes, he would send police and even military to their houses.

Otherwise, padala kita ng pulis, tapat ko sa bahay [niyo], patanong ko sa inyo sa pulis kung bakit hindi ka nakabayad ng taxes. Simple as that,” he said.

(Otherwise, I’ll send police over, in front of your house, I’ll have them ask you why you are not paying your taxes. Simple as that.)

He would even ask the media to go with law enforcers. Tax evaders would have to face the humiliation of police and military vehicles parked outside their homes.

“I’ve asked media to accompany the pulis…Pulis o military, magparkingan ng sasakyan nila diyan kung saan ka nakatira (Police or military, they will park their cars where you live),” he said.

Once he reads out their names, he said he would instruct the BIR to file cases against them with the goal of restricting their freedoms when the cases are pending in court.

Kung mayaman ka (If you are rich), you travel, you cannot travel anymore. I will order the BIR to file cases. Once it’s pending in court, your freedom of movement is curtailed,” he said.

Duterte ranted about how big-time tax evaders use up public services without contributing their fair share.

“Your debts to the government have piled up and you expect me to give you security? You expect me to [let you] use the roads, the ports, the airports and everything the government produces for the people? Nakikihalo kayo (You’re benefiting),” he added, visibly angered.

But he also offered tax evaders a carrot: pay your taxes right and government won’t harass your businesses.

“If you do not want harassments from the BIR and I promise you, just pay taxes, I can assure you no harassments at all for the rest of the year. I will not authorize BIR agents going to your business place,” promised the President.

Duterte has been on a roll the past few weeks naming top cops, mayors, judges, and congressmen suspected of drug links.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, lawmakers, and groups have raised concern over his naming spree pointing out inaccuracies and consequences of his announcement.

Many of those in his “drug” list have denied his accusations and have complied with his surrender order. The Department of the Interior and Local Government and Philippine National Police said they would investigate their cases. – Rappler.com


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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.