26 May 2011

On this day, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Task Force on tax evasion cases, headed by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor MIGUEL F. GUDIO, JR., resolved four (4) separate cases filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which charged various individuals of violations of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).

The handling prosecutor in each of the four cases found probable cause to formally charge the respondents before the proper court. Their findings were favorably recommended for approval by SDSP Gudio, as head of the DOJ Task Force and, thereafter, were approved and released by Prosecutor General CLARO A. ARELLANO.

One of the four cases, entitled "Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) represented by Salvador D. Esquivas vs. Dynatel System Corp. and/or Valerian U. Timbol, Maximilian U. Timbol and Revemarie Darryl M. TimboF (docketed as I.S. No. XVI-INV-09A-00026), was filed in February 2006. The case was initially resolved to be dismissed in a Resolution dated 15 January 2010 but, after undergoing a re-assessment of the evidence, prompted by a Motion for Reconsideration filed by the BIR, the case has finally been resolved for filing of appropriate charges against all three individual respondents, whose potential liability amounts to more than P20.28 million. The case arose from the sale of an aerial camera in the amount of ^31,989,400 between respondents and the Philippine Air Force. It was found that there appears to be sufficient evidence to support the allegation that the respondents "committed substantial under declaration of income."

Another, case involves former National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General, Romulo L. Neri, who was charged by the BIR for "willfully and deliberately concealing] his true income by not declaring the income or revenues he earned from the various corporations for taxable years 2008 to 2009, resulting in deficiency incline taxes owing to the government amounting to more than Pi8.26 million. The case was filed last 4 November 2010 and, after conducting preliminary investigation, the handling prosecutor found probable cause to indict former Secretary Neri with two (2) counts of violation of Section 255 of the NIRC.

The third case, entitled "Bureau of Internal Revenue v. Cleansmart Janitorial and Allied Services/Jerome Roel B. Celaje", was filed last 16 December 2010. After going through preliminary investigation, it was found that there is sufficient evidence that respondent Celaje, as sole proprietor of Cleansmart Janitorial & Allied Services, "owes the government [over ?4 million] in deficiency income tax."

The resolution on the fourth case, entitled "Bureau of Internal Revenue v. Mel V. Velarde and Atty. Angeline L. Macasaet", is captioned "Review Resolution" because the Prosecutor General had occasion to exercise his discretion, under Section 4, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, to re-assign the case to another prosecutor in case he does not approve of the investigating prosecutor's recommendation to dismiss the case. Contrary to the findings of the original handling prosecutor, it was found that there is sufficient evidence to charge both respondents with tax evasion under Section 256 of the NIRC, after finding that they conspired with one another in making it appear in the Deed of Absolute Sale of a real property that the purchase price was merely Pi6 million, when what was actually paid was US.2 million - resulting in deficiencies in the capital gains tax and documentary stamp tax paid.

The promulgation of these Resolutions is a welcome development in the fight against tax evasion.

To ensure the fast-tracking of these cases, Secretary LEILA M. DE LIMA has directed Undersecretary FRANCISCO F. BARAAN III, as Undersecretary in charge of the DOJ Task Force, to closely monitor the progress of these cases. Hence, more cases are expected to be resolved in the coming days.

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