Manila Times writer Rigoberto Tiglao broke down how the Rufino-Prieto family owes almost Php 3 billion to the Filipinos in taxes from their Mile Long prime property in Makati and Dunkin’ Donuts enterprise.
Photo credits: Inquirer
“If government’s claims are valid, and its figures accurate, the Rufino/Prietos’ liabilities through their firm Sunvar Realty and Development Corp. would be this P1.8 billion, plus the P1.5 billion alleged tax evasion by another firm they own, Dunkin’ Donuts,” Tiglao explained
With the amount of almost Php 3 billion, Rufino-Prieto are just like any other Chinese-Filipino tycoons “notorious for being tax evaders”.
President Arroyo’s Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera in 2009 revealed that the elite family owed Php 1.8 billion for Sunvar. This was based on the Php 630 million the family owes from illegal and unauthorized use of the property from 2003 to March 21, 2009 and the Php 10.4 million monthly rent from April 2008 until it was given over to the government.
Rufino-Prieto dismissed their debts after maneuvering through several court cases and continued to charge rentals from over 400 stores for 14 years after its lease expired in 2002.
The Sunvar debt is a “measly rent of P360 per square meter per month government is asking Sunvar to pay—a give-away price in a prime area where rents are at least P50,000 per sq. m. per month.”
Supreme Court (SC) issued a decision on 2012 that urged the elite family to pay ASAP the debts that they owe to the State.
In the SC’s court ruling, it said:
“The Court notes that respondent Sunvar has continued to occupy the subject property since the expiration of its sublease on 31 December 2002. The factual issue of whether respondent has paid rentals to petitioners from the expiration of the sublease to the present was never raised or sufficiently argued before this Court. Nevertheless, it has not escaped the Court’s attention that almost a decade has passed without any resolution of this controversy regarding respondent’s possession of the subject property.”
Despite the intervention of the SC, the lower court took three years to issue a decision. Metropolitan Trial Court Judge Barbara Aleli Briones in July 2015 ordered Sunvar to pay only P555 million, a mere 30% of what they owe.
It was until the case reached Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 141 Maryann Corpus-Manalac and MRTC Branch 59 Judge Winlove Dumayas that the Rufino-Prieto family had their way and was granted control of the property.
Tiglao pointed out that when the Mile Long property was being guarded over by former President Macapagal-Arroyo, their news arm, Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) “demonized” Arroyo and continuously publicized alleged corruption scandals.
However, when former President Benigno Aquino III took seat and suspended the case on the questionable lease of their properties, PDI “unabashedly idolized and supported” his administration.
President Rodrigo Duterte swore to look into these property deals of the Rufino-Prieto firm as he also lambasts their news arm for criticizing and demonizing his administration when the elite family owes up to billion to the Flipinos.
Tiglao challenges the status quo and questioned, “what would the hundreds of thousands of urban poor squatters in the metropolis say when riot police try to eject them? ‘Why us poor, not the rich squatting on prime government land?’”
Inquirer owes total of almost P3B to PH Reviewed by Newsinfo Learn on April 22, 2017 Rating: