Former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, lawyer of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., asked the Commission on Audit to investigate the alleged illegal payment of public funds under the tax informer’s reward of the government in the oil industry.
“It is an illegal granting of reward. There is no legal basis for the granting of the reward,” Marcelo of the Cruz, Marcelo and Tenefrancia law office said.
In a letter addressed to CoA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo, Marcelo requested the agency to conduct an audit of the informer’s reward payments by the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue from 2004 to 2010 during the second term of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Marcelo asked the government agency to consider looking into the informer’s reward supposedly paid in connection with a claim for duties against Chevron Philippines Inc.
Chevron was forced to pay for the dutiable value of its importations, which were deemed abandoned by the government under Section 1801 of the Tariff Code, amounting to over P1 billion.
Marcelo said the supposed informer against Chevron was allegedly able to collect a reward of about P200 million.
He said the same syndicate was also allegedly involved in the tax case of Shell. The group wanted the oil refiner to be declared liable for alleged unpaid excise taxes amounting to around P7 billion in a case now pending with the Court of Tax Appeals. The amount has been reduced to P3.5 billion based on the latest CTA ruling.
“We’re trying to prevent this scam from happening. Based on reliable information we got, its the same people involved,” Marcelo said.
“For Shell, the case is still ongoing but we want to show there is a syndicate, there is no basis for the case. What is fueling the case is the scam for the informers’ reward,” he said.
He said the informer’s reward was being used as the incentive for “these unscrupulous public officials and their conspirators to unlawfully seek to collect taxes which are not even due from law-abiding citizens and corporations, and make it appear that the non-payment of taxes was discovered due to instrumental information provided by certain private informers.”
“We would like to respectfully request the honorable office to investigate this criminal syndicate considering that the extremely huge informer’s rewards collected came from public funds that should have otherwise accrued to the government,” Marcelo said.