Osmeña files ‘tax fraud’ complaint vs BDO-Magallanes

By: Izobelle T. Pulgo, Nestle L. Semilla, Victor Anthony V. Silva January 04,2017 - 10:14 PM
CASE FILED: Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña (left) is assisted by Cebu City Legal Officer Joseph Bernaldez (right) and Lawyer  Daisy Mae Garong as he files a complaint of alleged tax evasion against Banco de Oro (BDO) Magallanes Branch at the City Prosecutor’s Office on Jan. 4, 2017. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

CASE FILED: Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña (left) is assisted by Cebu City Legal Officer Joseph Bernaldez (right) and Lawyer Daisy Mae Garong as he files a complaint of alleged tax evasion against Banco de Oro (BDO) Magallanes Branch at the City Prosecutor’s Office on Jan. 4, 2017.
(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has lodged a complaint before the Office of the City Prosecutor against the Magallanes branch of Banco de Oro (BDO) for alleged tax fraud after the branch declared a gross annual revenue of only P400,000 in 2016.

Osmeña, in his complaint, said the revenue was questionable as it was not even enough to pay the salary of the bank manager since the amount would mean that the establishment was only earning around P30,000 per month.

“You know people say that they are very reputable. They are tax cheats and I’m here to prove it,” the mayor said.

The charges against BDO included “Other Deceits” and “Falsification by Private Individuals,” which are prohibited under the Revised Penal Code and for violation of the City Tax Ordinance.

Named as respondents in the mayor’s complaint were BDO Board Chair Teresita Sy-Coson, several senior vice presidents of the bank and BDO-Magallanes Branch Manager Joseph C. Lao.

Lao, when reached by phone, declined to comment on the matter as he has not yet received a copy of the complaint.

He said that once he receives a copy of the complaint, it will still have to be referred to their legal department before the bank can issue a comment.

BDO, which is majority owned by the SM Investments Corp. (SMIC), is the country’s largest universal bank with more than 1,100 branches and over 3,500 ATMs nationwide, according to the bank’s Jan. 3, 2017 disclosure with the Philippine Stock Exchange, in relation to its P60-billion stock rights offer.

“I’ll hit them wherever I can hit them. Hala, they didn’t pay their taxes, patay gyud sila (they’re dead meat). But I’m doing this for Cebu. I spent practically most of my productive life to (sic) the future of the city and the SRP (South Road Properties). I had to climb so many mountains and they just try to get it away from us and they tell us, don’t worry, it’s only business. No, I’m not gonna take that sitting down. To me, this is my job, my job to protect the interest (of the people),” Osmeña told reporters yesterday after he filed the complaint.

The mayor said he was going over the tax collection report of City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo when he discovered that the BDO banks have “generally lesser amounts of declared gross sales compared to Development Bank of the Philippines as well as that of Land Bank of the Philippines.”

He said one particular item that piqued his interest was that BDO-Magallanes only declared a gross sales P400,057.22 for 2016, “for an unbelievable monthly gross receipts of P33,330,” Osmeña’s affidavit read. “For me, this was alarming because, by simple comparative analysis, it was highly unlikely for the government banks (DBP and Land Bank) to have gross sales to have higher than private banks, like BDO,” he added.

“You know, these people say they are very reputable. They are tax cheats and I’m here to prove it because people don’t believe me that they swindle the city, they’re incapable of doing that. I will prove it,” he said.

With the annual renewal of business permits now underway, Osmeña said they are mulling the cancellation of BDO-Magallanes business permit, but this has to go through the city’s legal team first.

Osmeña hoped his latest action would warn all the business establishments in the city that they have to comply with their tax liabilities.

The mayor earlier said it is unfair that common workers automatically have their wages deducted for taxes while big companies cheat their way through the system by under-declaring their income.

“The taxes these companies should be paying could have gone to funding our garbage collection, the building of (the) CCMC (Cebu City Medical Center), additional infrastructure for alleviate traffic (sic) and the City Scholars program,” he said.

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TAGS: Banco de Oro, bank, banks, BDO, charges, deceit, falsification, fraud, Landbank, Magallanes, Office of the City Prosecutor, Osmeña, Philippines, revenue, SM Investments Corp., Teresita Sy-Coson, Tomas Osmeña

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