Duterte to Lucio Tan: ‘I’m going to forever shut up’ on past tax liabilities
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday cleared business tycoon Lucio Tan of his past tax liabilities, saying he would “forever shut up” on the subject.
His statement came after Tan, chairman and chief executive officer of Philippine Airlines (PAL), offered an additional plane to fly home repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from Kuwait.
“Mr. Lucio Tan, I’m going to shut up forever,” Duterte said in his speech welcoming 150 distressed OFWs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Pasay City. “Wala ka na marinig sa akin na salita na di ka nagbayad.”
[You will no longer hear me mention that you did not pay.]
The President was referring to PAL’s P6 billion in tax liabilities, which the company paid in October last year.
“Okay na sa akin tapos na,” Duterte said. “Nabayaran mo naman yung mga taxes mo – at yung pinakita mo. And mind you, I am ready to protect every businessman kagaya ninyo.”
[It’s okay with me. It’s over and done with. You’ve already paid your taxes – and what you have shown. And mind you, I am ready to protect every businessman like you.]
Duterte also assured Tan that nobody in his government would ask him for bribe money.
“Walang corruption dito sa gobyernong ito sabi ko nga sa inyo kung may maghingi sabihin niyo lang. Ipadala natin sa Kuwait. Ipapatay natin,” he said.
[There’s no corruption in this government. I’m telling you: If anyone asks you for a bribe, just tell me. We’ll send it to Kuwait to have them killed.]
Last year, Duterte gave Tan a 10-day ultimatum to settle PAL’s tax liabilities or else the government would shut down NAIA Terminal 2, which the airline has been exclusively using since 1999.
PAL, the country’s flag carrier, heeded Duterte’s warning and paid the arrears within the deadline.
READ: Duterte to Lucio Tan: Pay PAL arrears or I’ll shut down Naia Terminal 2 | PAL pays P6-B debt to gov’t
Duterte also told Tan that there would be no harassment under his government as long as people would “do the right thing.”
“Ito namang kay Lucio Tan, huwag ka mag-aalala. Walang harassment sa gobyerno ko, ke magkasama tayo sa politika o kalaban,” Duterte said.
[With Lucio Tan, don’t worry. There’s no harassment in my government, whether we are political allies or foes.]
“Just do the right thing and I will do the right thing and we will be all right,” he added. “Huwag kayo mag-alala na meron akong sama ng loob. Wala po, kasi ganun lang ang politika.”
[Don’t worry that I will be resentful. I’m not resentful, because that’s just the way politics goes.]
The President said Tan and Lance Gokongwei of Cebu Pacific offered on Monday to deploy planes to fly home distressed OFWs from Kuwait.
The offer came after the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) ordered the repatriation of 10,000 overstaying migrant workers in Kuwait.
Last month, Duterte ordered a total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait following reports of sexual, mental and physical abuse that prompt several migrant workers to suicide. /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.