Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday said boxing sensation and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao deserves better treatment from the tax bureau, which is unwittingly potraying him as a tax evader.
Recto stressed Pacquiao's earnings from his fights in the United States (US) should no longer be taxable since he has already paid for it with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
"OFWs earnings which are derived from working abroad are not subject to tax. I think the same principle should also apply to Pacquiao, who may not be a true-blue OFW but still our very own 'Overseas Fighting Worker'," Recto said.
The senator said he was appalled on how Pacquiao is being treated here compared to the "respect and adulation" that he enjoy before the global sporting community.
"Sila kaya sumubok na magpagulpi sa ring. Bakit nila ginagawa ito sa kanya?" Recto, Senate ways and means chair, said.
"How much goodwill and pride has he given to the country? Manny deserves a better treatment, " he added.
He said even the people running after him would not be able to equal the amount of taxes that he paid in recent years, which had made him as one of the consistent top taxpayers.
"His income was not generated from here and he has already paid his taxes in the US. That would be double taxation," Recto said.
He said the BIR could only run after Pacquiao's earnings from commercial endorsements and other local income-generating activities.
"It seems personalities who clobbered poverty and became successful are now natural suspects for tax evasion and ill-gotten wealth," Recto said.
He said Pacquaio's wealth is borne out of hard work and not a mere inheritance from affluent relatives or from lotto winnings.
Pacquiao is now the subject of a tax probe for alleged discrepancies in his income tax returns, particularly his income returns in 2010.