President Rodrigo Duterte is urging Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez to accept Mighty Corp.’s compromise offer of P3 billion to pay for his back taxes because he needed the money now to build hospitals in Jolo and Basilan and relocate thousands of squatters.
In a speech before Filipino-Chinese businessmen at the SMX Convention Center Friday, Duterte said that he preferred to give any businessmen a tax amnesty because the government would get the money upfront early in his administration rather than go into a long litigation which might not be resolved before the end of his six-year term.
“Sonny Dominguez, the Finance (Secretary), did not agree with me. He needs nine. I said, I need only three because I will buy… I’ll build a hospital in Basilan. One billion hospital in Jolo. And in the squatters area, another billion,” said Duterte.
Mighty Corp. has offered to settle its back taxes owed to the government due to its use of fake stamp taxes on its low-priced cigarettes. Duterte had endorsed the P3 billion settlement offer made by Mighty Corp. but Dominguez had insisted on collecting P9 billion.
Duterte said he needed the money now to put into reality his massive infrastructure and social service projects.
“Rather than the other party filing a case, then from the Tax Courts of Appeal to the Court of Appeals then to the… it will be decided 10 years from now. And I also need, I need the money now, not 10 years from now, I’m not around,” said Duterte.
Duterte, a lawyer, pointed out that the law allowed for a compromise between the government and the businessman to settle tax disputes, including those charged with tax evasion.
“Process, prosecuting them, takes years. Philippine courts. I would rather that a compromise be made. No particular party. Maski sino. Maski sino ‘yan. We can enter into a compromise. I’m suggesting it so that I can use the money. I said, I asked for three,” said Duterte.
“But it must be a reasonable one. For those with big tax cases, Sonny Dominguez, the Finance officer and Dulay, the BIR, I have yet to convince them to compromise. It is not illegal, it is not unlawful for me to suggest this because rather than—You know, if they choose to fight it in court and it is… the so very slow process,” he added.