Duterte willing to let Mighty Corp. off the hook for P3B

President Rodrigo Duterte is ready to settle the tax case of Mighty Corporation if the cigarette manufacturer would pay double the excise tax the company failed to remit.

Duterte told reporteres in Davao del Sur on Thursday that Mighty Corporation should pay P3 billion for the rehabilitation of hospitals in the country.

“Ako, kalimtan ko na pero ang iyang gi-imprinta, 1.5 billion of the fake stamps. Ako, musugot ko ani. Doblehun niya, kalimtan ko na. Anyway, akong saad sa iya na if someone in power pursue, I can always pardon him,” he said, referring to Mighty Corporation president Alex Wongchuking.

[I will forget about the printing of 1.5 billion worth of fake stamps. I will agree to this: Pay double, I’ll forget about it. Anyway, I assure him that if someone in power pursues the case, I can always pardon him.]

“Pero mao ni ang sabot. Ang iyang offer na 1.5, dili gyud na acceptable sa ako. Naay binuang eh. So, muhatog siya ug doblado. Himuon niya ug three billion. Ihatag niya ang one billion sa Basilan. Didto idiretso niya, ayaw sa ako, idiretso niya sa Secretary of Health, kay ipaayo nako ang ospital didto. One billion sa Jolo kay ipaayo pud nako ang hospital didto. Unya sa Manila, Mary Johnstone sa Tondo, one billion. Three billion, areglo mi. Igna siya,” he added.

[Here’s the deal. He offered 1.5, which is definitely unacceptable to me. There was deceit. So, he needs to give double. He should offer three billion. He should give one billion for Basilan. He should give it directly to the Secretary of Health, not to me, because I want to fix the hospital there. One billion for Jolo because I also want to fix the hospital there. Then in Manila, one billion for Mary Johnston Hospital in Tondo. Three billion and we’re settled. Tell him.]

Duterte explained that the law said that tax cases can be settled.

“Ani akong proposal sa iyaha. Ingon sa iyang abogado, tax evasion. Ingon ko nga falsification. But if it was part of the tax evasion case, musugot nalang ko. Tax cases can be compromised. Pwede aregluhin, basta tax liability lang. Kanang buwis buwis, dayon wala ka kabayad, tinuyo man o dili, pwede na nimo maareglo. Ang balaod nga nitugot ana nga naay areglo, compromise. That’s the word of the law.

[This is my proposal to him. His lawyers said tax evasion. I said falsification. But if it was part of the tax evasion case, I will agree. Tax cases can be compromised. It can be settled if it’s only tax liability. When you failed to pay your taxes, intentionally or unintentionally, you can settle it. The law allows settlements, compromise. That’s the word of the law.]

In his speech before local officials in Davao City, Duterte said that the deal with Mighty Corporation would be on if Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, and Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay would agree with it.

But Duterte said that there are some businessmen who told him that P3 billion is not enough.

Duterte on Wednesday revealed that he ordered the arrest of Wongchuking for economic sabotage. But Wongchuking met with National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on the same day. —NB/KG, GMA News

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