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BIR seizes 35 Binay, Makati govt bank accounts

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) ordered Wednesday the seizure of 35 bank accounts of reelectionist Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and the city government from commercial and government-owned banks in Makati, Manila, Pasig City and Quezon City. The BIR issued the order to be able to collect the P 1.1 billion worth of unpaid withholding taxes of 8,000 employees that the city government failed to remit to the bureau from 1999 to 2002. Binay started to lead Makati in 1986 as officer-in-charge under then President Corazon Aquino’s transitional government. He ruled the city for three more terms until his wife Elenita took over his post. Binay went back to his post in 2001. BIR revenue officer Roberto Baquiran signed and issued the warrant of garnishment against the bank accounts that belonged to Binay, the city government and the city’s treasurer and accountant. Twenty nine of these accounts are found in commercial banks in Makati, two are in Manila, three in Pasig and one in Quezon City. The monies are deposited in the following banks: the Philippine National Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Metrobank, Allied Bank, Asia Trust Bank, Equtable-PCI Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines. Baquiran said the city government of Makati has total unpaid withholding tax of P1,150,331,321.81. He said the P1.1 billion unpaid withholding taxes of the City government include P482,380,098.20 for 1999; P397,920,966.04 for 2000; P208,396,766.58 for 2001 and P61,633,490.99 for 2002 or a total of P1,150,331,321.81. “In this connection, we respectfully request the application of the aforesaid warrant of garnishment against any available funds of the subject taxpayers through validation of BIR 0605 form for the payment of the above tax liabilities" Baquiran said. Baquiran said Binay has no other legal recourse but to pay the city government’s P1.1 billion tax obligation. “"Aside from the garnishments, the 1997 Tax Code and existing BIR regulations are very specific, that the remittance of withholding taxes are the duty of the City Mayor and Treasurer. And if they fail to do so, both are equally liable for criminal penalties as provided for under the law" Baquiran said. He said that if proven guilty for tax evasion, Binay and the city treasurer could be facing lifetime prison terms for the P1.1 billion tax liabilities. “The banks are required to transfer the money from the bank accounts of Mayor Binay, the city treasurer and the city government which are covered by the warrant of garnishment to the Bureau of Treasury Accounts," Baquiran said. “We appeal to him to pay. These are taxes of the employees of the city government. There is no more way for a compromise because the period given to him to do this already lapsed. The taxes will only be fully paid when we have confirmation from the banks," he added. - GMANews.TV