Napoles couple charged
BIR Finds P61-M Tax Liabilities; 6 Whistleblowers Testify
Manila, Philippines – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) yesterday filed tax evasion charges against suspected P10-billion pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and her husband for alleged non-filing and payment of income tax totaling to more than P61 million.
“Spouses Janet and Jaime were charged with willful attempt to evade and defeat tax for taxable for the years 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012,” BIR Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto Henares said in a criminal complaint filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Also yesterday, six whistleblowers appeared before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s inquiry into the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam and testified under oath how Ms. Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the fund scandal, used fake receipts, invented beneficiaries and put several properties and non-government organizations (NGO) under other people’s names without their consent.
P44.68-M Tax Liability For Ms. Napoles
Napoles has a tax liability of P44.68 million, while her husband owes the government P16.43 million in taxes. Henares stresses that the P61-million tax evasion suit is just the beginning of the many tax complaints they are set to file in the future.
“Let me clarify that this case is only filed based on the properties under their names. This is the first stage because there are other types of properties that are in the name of corporation. This case is only in relation to properties in Janet and Jaime’s name,” Henares told reporters in a press conference at the DOJ.
0 Income In 2006, 2009
Records from the BIR showed that Napoles only declared P195,800 in her income tax return (ITR) for 2004; P0.00 as her annual income in 2006; P100,744.59 in her 2008 ITR; P0.00 in 2009 ITR.
Her husband, on the other hand, never filed his income tax return.
“She [Napoles] did not file any ITR for the years 2010, 2011, and 2012,” Henares said.
Luxury Cars, High-End Properties
What was surprising, Henares said, was that the Napoleses were able to purchase and register in their names, various real properties, a number of motor vehicles such as Ford Lincoln Navigator, Honda Civic and Porsche Cayenne, several insurance policies and club shares despite her declared annual income, which was just almost at par with a minimum wage earners.
Among the properties they acquired were condominium units in City & Land Mega Plaza and the Discovery Center, parcels of land in Pangasinan and Kidapawan City.
Napoles’ residential properties, which were earlier reported, ranged from her long-time home in Biñan, Laguna province, to a house in Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City, one house each in Forbes Park and in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City, units in Serendra and Pacific Plaza Towers in Bonifacio Global City and in Eastwood City in Quezon City, and houses in Tagaytay Highlands and Punta Fuego in Nasugbu.
Henares added that the Napoleses were able to invest millions of pesos in various new corporations.
P59.51M Ms. Napoles Acquisitions
In sum, the BIR Commissioner said that the acquisitions of Janet amounted to P4.17 million in 2004; P22.29 million in 2006; P4.35 million in 2008; P9.84 million in 2009; P6.33 million in 2010; P5.64 million in 2011; and P6.89 million in 2012.
P23.79M Mr. Napoles Acquisitions
Jaime’s total acquisitions amounted to P1.42 million in 2004, P5.51 million in 2006, P0.78 million in 2008, P9.25 million in 2009, P2.1 million in 2010, P1.17 million in 2011 and P3.65 million in 2012.
“As far as the BIR is concerned, whoever is the registered owner, we will look at his capacity to purchase. If he or she doesn’t have the capacity to purchase then he or she committed tax evasion. So ayun ho yung first case we are filing,” she said.
The BIR chief said the 28 properties earlier reported in the media as belonging to Napoles were a “good lead.” But the bureau could not rest its case solely on news reports, Henares said.
“We have to know when did she purchase them and for how much. Then we have to situate it every year and look at her income tax returns and, based on that, come up with a case if there is a case,” she said.
6 Whistleblowers Appear In Senate
Meanwhile, the whistleblowers finally surfaced after the Department of Justice (DOJ) complied in the subpoena issued by Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona, chairman of the Blue Ribbon panel, for Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to bring them to the inquiry.
The whistleblowers who attended the hearing were Benhur Luy, Napoles’ second cousin and former personal assistant, his mother Gertrudes Luy, who served as nanny of Napoles’ children, Merlina Suñas, Marina Sula, Arlene Baltazar, and Monet Briones.
All former employees of Napoles, some of the whistleblowers were also assigned to head some of the NGOs of the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind.
Sula, Napoles’ personal finance officer and documentary processor, told Senate probers she was in charge of the Napoles’ keys, titles, and other pertinent papers of her vast properties and, thus, has direct knowledge on her assets.
Properties Under Other Persons’ Name
Napoles, she said, named some of her properties in the Philippines and in the United States under her children’s name and to other persons without their knowledge.
Among the Napoles assets she mentioned include those at Discovery Suites; Eastwood Condominium, which was used by Benhur Luy; Eton Properties, Rockwell Condominium; Antipolo City; Hotel Inn in Anaheim and a unit at Ritz-Carlton Residences, both in the US; and Manila Polo Club shares.
Sula also said she pays for the taxes of all Napoles’ properties, open bank accounts, including at Land Bank of the Philippines and MetroBank branch in Magdalena, Binondo, Manila.
At one time, Napoles had asked her to bring a bag of money to Ruby Tuazon, a former representative of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, at her house.
Mary Arlene Baltazar, Napoles’ bookkeeper, testified that Napoles started shredding documents of the bogus organizations she created under Benhur Luy’s name and Suñas in January 2013.
Baltazar said she herself started learning there were irregularities within the foundations being controlled by Napoles when the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) found out that there is no deliveries consummated on the projected coursed through the government agencies identified by legislators after they tried to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from the Commission.
No Projects Delivered
“In 2012, kailangan ng mga (government) agencies ng Certificate of Good Standing from SEC, pero naghigpit naman ang SEC before issuing the certification, so we Merlina Suna crafted Certificate of Project Completion and project existence signed by her, and the board secretary. Doon namin nalaman na wala pa lamang deliveries ng mga NGOs na iyon,” Baltazar said.
She and Sunas, she said, worked together to secure a certification from the SEC.
“Unang nabigyan ng Certificate of Good Standing ang Gaugdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation (which she heads), based on what we declared to BIR on grants and purchases, doon binase ni Merlina Suna ang Project Completion Certificate kahit walang deliveries,” Baltazar said.
“The Gaubdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation complied only on documentary requirements but no deliveries were made for the project,” she added.
When they were able to get a Certificate of Good Standing for four NGOs, in 2013, they started transferring documents at 18-B Pacific Plaza Towers, and there started destroying the original documents.
Sula said among those documents are SEC registration papers, memorandum of agreements with government agencies, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) registration, and local government permits of Suna’s Masaganang Buhay Foundation and Peoples’ Organization for Progress and Development Foundation of Luy.
“Nagtuloy-tuloy ang shredding sa mga natitira pang official receipts, bogus receipts at OR with BIR markings, and all documents such as SEC, BIR permit related to foundation like Masagang Buhay Foundation,” Baltazar said.
According to Baltazar, Napoles spared the documents of foundations whose presidents are still loyal to her.