PNoy urged to charge oil firms with tax fraud

A MILITANT group yesterday pressed President Benigno “Aquino III to file criminal and civil charges against oil companies with tax fraud worth hundreds of billions of pesos of unpaid and underpaid taxes in 2009.

In a statement, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) national chair Fernando Hicap urged Malacañang and the Bureau of Internal Revenue to investigate why oil companies paid very small amount of taxes in 2009 despite posting more than P450 billion on total sales.

Citing a recent report released by the BIR, Hicap said the oil companies paid only P 17.12 billion in taxes despite enjoying a total earning of P 453.69 billion last year.

“If that is the case, how come the BIR did not file any case against these oil players, particularly the Big Three which corners 90 percent of the total gross sales and profits in 2009? Are these oil companies over and above and really untouchables?” asked Hicap.

Hicap said a uniform 35-40 percent income tax rate is imposed on business, including those engaged in oil industry.

He said the oil players should have paid between P150 billion and P200 billion in total taxes in 2009.

“The P17 billion in total paid taxes is way below what the Filipino people should get from the oil industry players led by Chevron, Shell and Petron,” the militant leader said.

Hicap revealed that the oil companies, especially the Big Three who controls more than 90 percent of the total market share and profits, “should be brought to court of justice for their across-the-nation tax fraud and nationwide plunder.”

He said the tax fraud committed by the oil firms is tantamount to economic plunder and economic sabotage that merits the immediate filing of appropriate charges against the oil players, the scrapping of the Oil Deregulation Law and the urgent nationalization of oil industry to end cartelization and day-to-day profiteering and manipulation by oil players, particularly the oil cartel.

“The high crime of monopolization and exploitation by the oil cartel remains a daily ordeal for more than 90 million Filipinos. It is about time to end this regime of exploitation and greed in the oil industry,” added Hicap.

The underpayment of taxes by oil companies also caught the attention of Sen. Ralph Recto, who said that the oil companies are set to do the same in 2010 based on the report provided by BIR.

Recto said that from January 2010 to August 2010, the oil players only paid a total of P 9.86 billion in taxes despite registering a whopping P 388.49 billion in total sales.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya also asked Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte to conduct joint or separate congressional inquiries on the reported tax fraud committed by oil players in the industry. D’Jay Lazaro

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