THE pawnshop owner who had been slapped with a tax evasion case asked the Department of Justice to compel the Bureau of Internal Revenue to submit a bill of particulars that would justify the filing of complaint against him.

In an omnibus motion filed in lieu of a counter-affidavit, lawyer Francisco Chavez asked his client William Villarica had been denied due process when the BIR failed to inform him of the proceedings at the bureau before filing the complaint at the DOJ.

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Villarica is the purported owner of the chain of W Villarica Pawnshops with branches in Caloocan, Malabon, Marikina and Bulacan.

Chavez said the BIR should be required to make a more definite statement as to the specific branches of the pawnshop that he supposedly owned; the ownership of a Lamborghini luxury sports car which he allegedly purchased worth P26 million; and details of the certificates of registration of the motor vehicles that reportedly belong to him.

“A more definite statement on the matters as above-indicated is necessary in order to enable the respondent to prepare his responsive pleading,” Chavez said, noting that respondent Villarica intends to raise as a defense the falsity and spurious nature of the alleged document.

He also said the BIR also failed to indicate with “sufficient definiteness and particularity” the supposed owner of the Lamborghini. The bureau, he added, also failed to indicate the certificate of registration covering the same.

With regard to the other motor vehicles he allegedly owned, Villarica said the BIR failed to indicate the certificates of registration of the said vehicles.

Aside from the submission of the necessary documents, Villarica also asked the justice department to allow him to inspect the original of the alleged deed of sale covering the Lamborghini vehicle.

Chavez said that based on the BIR’s complaint, he filed his annual income tax returns for the years 2001 and 2007 but the agency only attached a copy of his alleged income tax return for the year 2007 in its complaint-affidavit.

During the filing of the complaint at the DOJ, BIR Commissioner Kim Henares and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima claimed investigation conducted by the BIR National Investigation Division stemmed from a tip of a concerned citizen that for the years 1998 to 2009, Villarica’s aggregate tax payments amounted to only P25,607.25, and that he stopped filing his income tax altogether from 2002 to 2009, except in 2007 when he filed a return with zero tax payments.

According to Villarica, his business has stopped operating due to losses.

However, further investigation showed that on the same year that he claimed zero income, he was able to purchase the Lamborghini, as verified by a certified true copy of the Deed of Sale dated April 24, 2007, provided by the Land Transportation Office.

“We find it to be not just criminal, but perhaps also immoral, for a person that earns profits out of people in need of financial assistance, yet fails to do his one duty to the country and pay his proper taxes,” said Henares.

She said that aside from the Lamborghini car, what made the case glaring was that Villarica also owned several expensive cars such as a Ferrari, a Volkswagen, Beetle, and a Toyota.

“In the pawnshop industry, they charge a lot of interest and among the financial sector, this is one of the more profitable institutions. The fact that he is engaged in business but does not file any income tax return is a clear violation of sec 254-255 of the NIRC,” she said.

Henares also said that based on the purchase of the Lamborghini car alone, the BIR computed that the possible income tax deficiency of Vilarica would be at about P16.2 million, while the possible deficiency in value added tax could amount to P6.3 million.

The fact that Villarica has a P26-million vehicle, excluding interest and surcharges easily suggests that Villarica could be raking in at least P1 or 2-million a year, at the minimum, she said.

Henares said Villarica’s willful attempt to evade the payment of taxes and filing the proper income tax returns for the period 2002 to 2009 violates Sections 254 and 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), an offense that carries a penalty of imprisonment of not more than 10 years.

Plunder charges stay

In another development, the SC affirmed the indictment of businesswoman Grace Chingkoe on the plunder charges against her filed by the government against her.

In a resolution, the SC’s First Division chaired by Chief Justice Renato Corona dismissed the petition filed by Chingkoe seeking to nullify the resolutions of the Sandiganbayan, finding probable cause against her and her uncle, Faustino Chingkoe, on tax credit scam.

The resolution became the basis for the anti-graft court to order their arrest in April last year, plunder being a capital and non-bailable offense and is punishable by life imprisonment under the law.

The high court said petitioner failed to prevent evidence that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in coming out with its assailed April 3, 2009 and August 3, 2009 resolutions.

“Considering the allegations, issues and arguments adduced in the petition assailing the Sandiganbayan resolutions, the Court resolves to dismiss the petition and supplement to the petition for certiorari and prohibition for failure of petitioner to sufficiently show that any grave abuse of discretion was committed in rendering the challenged resolutions…” the SC ruled.

The SC further said that on the contrary, the assailed Sandiganbayan resolutions “appear to be in accord with the facts and the applicable law and jurisprudence.”

“Accordingly, the prayer for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction is denied,” the Court added.

Aside from Grace, other accused in the plunder case include former finance undersecretary and One-Stop Shop Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center executive director Antonio Belicena, his deputy Uldarico Andutan Jr., finance department reviewer Asuncion Magdaet, tax specialist Rowena Malonzo and private defendant Filstar representative Catalina Aranas Bautista.

In its April 3 ruling, the Sandiganbayan issued arrest warrants against the accused in the tax credit scam, and affirmed its ruling on August 3, 2009.

The Office Ombudsman accused Grace of defrauding the government of some P73.76 million representing the value of 28 tax credit certificates (TCCs) granted to Filstar Textile Industrial Corp. from 1995 to 1997 on alleged bogus supporting documents.

Filstar, incorporated in 1989, is a manufacturer and importer-exporter of yarns, threads, laces and other fabrics. It is owned by Faustino and his wife, Gloria Chan, while Grace is the corporate secretary.

The Ombudsman claimed the Chingkoes conspired with government officials in causing the issuance of the TCCs in favor of Filstar even if it is not qualified to receive tax credit incentives under the Omnibus Investment Code of 1987.

The TCCs were supposed to be used by the Filstar to pay its tax and duties obligations but were instead transferred to oil companies Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell as payment for fuel excise tax. (JCV/Sunnex)