LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines ? Lapu-Lapu City officials challenged the Mactan Island Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) to first publish their tax payments instead of telling them to produce their tax records for publication.
Lapu-Lapu City Administrator Teodulo Ybañez said members of the MICCI, headed by Efrain Pelaez Jr., should set an example by first disclosing the tax payment of their members in the city because they claimed to be anti-graft crusaders.
?Siya maoy una mopagawas sa iyang tax records, di kami, kay di man mi pareha niya ka datu (He should show his tax records first, not us, because we are not as rich as him). Anti-graft man kaha siya, leadership by example,? Ybañez said.
He said he considered as harassment Pelaez? letter of request to city treasurer Elenita Catagcatag asking Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza, other city and barangay officials to produce their tax records.
Ybañez said Pelaez is engaging in a fishing expedition to harass the city officials because Pelaez still has more than P50 million in unpaid taxes to the city government.
The Lapu-Lapu City administrator said Pelaez has several business establishments in the city including malls in barangays (villages) Pusok and Basak, and a condominium hotel in Punta Engaño.
The city administrator questioned the income of a condo-hotel owned by Pelaez which supposedly earned only P2 million a year.
Ybañez said he also doubted Pelaez? declarations of trying to help the city government implement its ?Catch a Tax Evader? program because he had been harassing the city officials by filing several cases.
?Who would believe his pronouncements of helping to catch tax evaders when he has yet to pay taxes to the city,? Ybañez said. /Correspondent Chris A. Ligan