Manny Pacquiao’s Bibles

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

BOXING icon Manny Pacquiao, who had complained that he had to borrow money to enable him to help typhoon Yolanda

victims because the Bureau of Intenal Revenue had frozen his bank accounts, distributed P1,000 each to 436 evacuees from one Guiuan, Eastern Samar barangay alone. He was expected to dole out the same amount to residents of other typhoon-ravaged areas in Samar and Leyte.

That’s a lot of borrowed money to give away but Pacquiao can very well afford it. He earned billions of pesos in prize money and share from the income from cable TV coverage of his fights during the last few years. A few million pesos to charity will not hurt the pocket of the Pacman.

I must hasten to add, though, that Manny earned his fortune in an honest and honorable way so we expect him to spend it prudently. That should explain his reluctance to pay income taxes to the Philippine because, according to him, he already paid taxes on the same income to the United States of America.

Manny also gave away Bibles to the typhoon victims. The Bible was more important than the money, he told the recipients. I will not be surprised if the statement was met with a few murmurs of “it’s easy for you to say” considering that the victims or
most of them, anyway, had lost all their possessions to Yolanda.

But Pacquiao’s advice for them to persevere was based on his own experience and should resonate with the audience. He didn’t lose hope when he was down, he said. He just kept believing.

I’m sure that Pacquiao has read the Bible (in his days off from boxing, he reportedly spends hours of Bible study with his pastor friends) and has come across that passage that says that one must render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

Although so many other interpretations have been made of this particular passage (which Jesus rendered in answer to a tricky question from a Pharisee), the more popular one seems to be that which encourages obedience to both civil and religious commandments: you pay taxes to the Romans but you must also obey your God.

This is important because while Manny has been dunned more than two billion pesos in unpaid taxes plus interest and surcharges, his case does not follow the pattern of the typical tax evader. In fact, even the BIR has not ruled out the possibility that Manny had already paid the correct amount of income taxes. That’s why they’re asking him to present the receipts, instead of a certification from Bob Arum.

Manny appears to have understood the BIR’s point, albeit belatedly, and has declared that he will henceforth let his new lawyer, Tranquil Salvador (yes, he’s former Gov. Gwen Garcia’s lawyer, too) do the talking.

Salvador is a good choice, and definitely a great improvement from Pacquiao’s previous advisers who authored the spin that Manny was being singled out for harassment and that the Aquino administration has made it difficult for him to help the Yolanda victims by freezing his bank accounts immediately after he won over Brandon Rios.

Salvador should be able to sort out the mess that Pacquiao’s other advisers created.

One thing that I am certain he will not do is reiterate the asinine demand for the BIR to go directly to the IRS for copies of official receipts of Pacquiao’s tax payments.

As a Pacquiao fan, I look forward to the day when he can have full access of his billions so he share his good fortune with the typhoon victims without having to borrow from his friends.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 03, 2013.


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