In a massive press conference on Monday, Manny Pacquiao attempted to clear up what he perceived to be misconceptions regarding his legal woes. In the end, though, folks probably left with more questions than they initially walked in with.
First, it’s important to note what information the Filipino champion put out there for public consumption.
“The case against me is plain and simple harassment. Contrary to public perception, I am not charged with tax evasion or tax fraud. That is farthest from the truth. Over the years as a boxer, a product endorser and a businessman, I have not shortchanged the government for what it is due,” he said (via Phil Star).
“Hence, it is with a heavy heart to hear that I was charged with tax evasion or tax fraud. It was even reported in international media that I shall follow Mayweather soon in jail. I don’t have that intention. I would rather see him inside the ring.”
So essentially, Pacquiao wants the world to know that he is not being chased by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for tax evasion. Rather, this is just a matter of him allegedly not submitting documentation and materials that the BIR has requested.
Fine. Fair enough.
But why won’t Pacquiao submit the documentation that’s being requested of him? The Filipino champion acknowledges in his press conference that this is a matter he has been aware of for a long time. So if he has been aware of the matter and has not been shortchanging the government in any way, wouldn’t it just be easier to submit the materials they want? Wouldn’t that solve all these problems?
Nobody with serious knowledge of what was going on ever thought Pacquiao was being accused of tax fraud or evasion. All people with serious knowledge of this situation said was that it was odd that the champ would procrastinate like this (in terms of giving the government want they want) if there was no evasion going on.
Frankly, even if there was (slight) tax evasion going on, that would hardly be an indictment on Pacquiao’s character. Celebrities and athletes with huge streams of revenue coming from all directions very often unknowingly don’t pay all their taxes. It’s generally purely accidental, and they make up for it by simply paying the back taxes with substantial interest payments tacked on. It sucks, obviously, but it’s something that rich folks can afford to do.
The only time tax evasion is a really serious is when it’s ongoing and the authorities have reason to believe that someone was purposely falsifying or misleading the government. Once it shifts from being accidental to being malicious – that’s when people start serving prison time.
There is nothing to indicate that Pacquiao is involved in anything of that sort. Which makes it all the more odd that he wouldn’t simply present the information being asked of him.
Instead of participating in this press conference, and instead of going back and forth with the BIR through the media, why won’t Pacquiao just submit the requested information?
That’s the only question he really needs to bother answering at this point in time.