September 14, 2019
INTERNAL Revenue Commissioner Caesar “Billy” Dulay, in the libel cases he filed against me, said I pictured him as “an animal, a thief, minion of Satan, greedy bastard and a criminal.”
Dulay said I also described him as “an insatiable greedy extortionist, a cheat and a corrupt official in President Digong’s government.”
By golly, I never described him that way, although I said he is corrupt given all the reports reaching me about him.
And since he said those words about himself, so he is!
Dulay’s days at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) are numbered.
You probably read in this column and in my Facebook page that when I was with President Digong in China recently, I had him listen to the videotaped conversation between two BIR executives.
The President was shocked as he listened to the recorded conversation, which had gone viral two years ago, but which I wrote about in August after somebody at the BIR identified the two as Teresita Angeles, assistant commissioner for the large taxpayers service, and Don Samson, Dulay’s technical assistant.
Angeles in that recorded video conversation was heard cussing Dulay while Samson agreed with her.
The two were apparently left out in Dulay’s compromise agreement with Mighty Cigarettes and Del Monte Philippines Corp., which were billed by the BIR with billions of pesos in delinquent taxes.
Anyway, Dulay was castigated by the House of Representatives in the Del Monte case for allowing the company to pay only P65 million instead of the P8.7 billion — repeat, billion — that Del Monte owed the government in taxes and penalties.
Dulay’s egregious error — I say, “error,” to be kind to the BIR commissioner — in billing Del Monte led then-Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to tell him to his face that he was stupid in the following words:
“Ang tanong ko lang sa iyo bakit hindi ka na-alarma na merong P8.7 billion at binayaran lamang ng P65 million at hindi mo alam at hindi umabot sa opisina mo, bakit (I ask you why weren’t you alarmed that of the P8.7 billion owed the government, only P65 million was paid and this did not reach your office. Why?)?”
Dulay was apparently feigning innocence and passed the blame to Assistant Commissioner Angeles.
Speaker Alvarez continued his tirade against Dulay at the congressional inquiry, thus: “‘Yung ganyang kalaking assessment reduction, may pirma ka dapat doon dahil hindi ‘yan maliit na pera. Kailangan talaga commissioner ang mag-review. Kung talagang dapat i-reduce, payagan ang reduction na ‘yan. So, hindi puwedeng hugas kamay, di ba? Commissioner ka, nilagay ka diyan para ayusin na maganda ang takbo ng BIR. Tapos tanungin ka namin hindi mo alam dahil hanggang doon lang sa assistant commissioner mo lang umabot’ yung assessment and approval. Aba, may problema tayo diyan (In that kind of huge assessment reduction, you should have been the one to sign it because it’s not a small amount. The commissioner should have reviewed it. If there was need to reduce the assessment, then it should come from you. Why do you wash your hands? You were placed there as commissioner to make the BIR run smoothly and honestly. And then when we ask you, you don’t know and you blame your assistant commissioner for making the assessment and approval. Why, we have a problem here!)!”
That was an Ateneo law graduate, Alvarez, castigating another Ateneo law alumnus, Dulay.
Alvarez, 61, is much younger than Dulay who is of the same age as his friend and former dorm mate at the YMCA dormitory in Manila, President Digong.
For a relatively younger lawyer to castigate a supposedly wiser and more experienced colleague, because of the latter’s age, is the height of insult.
At least from the point of view of an Ivy Leaguer; Ateneo is an Ivy League law school (Philippine version).
* * *
But the worst error — again, I say error to be kind to the BIR chief — that Dulay committed was in reducing the delinquency tax of Cosmos Bottling Corp., from P3.76 billion to only P51 million.
This, despite the fact that the Court of Tax Appeals which reviewed the Cosmos case, ruled that the company should pay the government P3.76 billion.
The decision was “final and executory and demandable” — in the words of the court — but Dulay disobeyed the order.
If that’s not flagrant corruption, I don’t know what it is.
In the Cosmos case, I dare say without batting an eyelash that Dulay must have received a considerable amount for reducing the tax to be paid by Cosmos to the government.
Then Dulay was absolutely correct in describing himself and allow me to repeat his own words: Corrupt official, greedy bastard, an animal, a thief, minion of Satan, greedy bastard, criminal, and an insatiable, greedy extortionist.
* * *
I’ve been able to identify some of the BIR executives — there are 30 of them — who were kidnapped and then released after paying ransom to their kidnappers.
My sources are from the National Bureau of Investigation and the BIR.
Here they are: Emmy Combis, revenue district officer (RDO); Corazon Balinas, RDO; Vicky Reinante, RDO; Fred Santos, RDO; Day Duque, who recently retired; Pete Fernando, RDO, who has resigned; Betsheba Bautista, RDO; Alvin Galanza, assistant regional director; and a certain Gamad, apparently a Muslim.
I have yet to get the names of the kidnapped BIR regional directors.
All of these BIR officials were kidnapped, held for ransom for several hours or days and then released after their relatives paid the ransom demanded.
One of them was even raped by her kidnappers.
They refuse to complain to the proper authorities for the obvious reason: How could they have afforded the payment of such huge ransoms?
All of the kidnappings happened during Dulay’s watch at the BIR.
Dulay’s three-year stint at the bureau is probably the “golden years of the BIR” in terms of corruption, from top to bottom.
No such kidnappings of BIR officials took place during the time of Dulay’s predecessors.
And to think that President Digong’s campaign promise was to eliminate, if not greatly reduce, corruption in government and criminality!
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