But President Rodrigo Duterte is claiming the former media giant’s Cayman Island firm, ABS-CBN Global Ltd., is no different from what his idol, President Ferdinand Marcos, did during his term.
“May mga holding company sa labas. Ganun din. Ano ‘yung inano nila ni Marcos. Sila rin. Cayman, tapos may holding company sa Hungary, dun nila binubuhos,” said Duterte in a speech in Jolo.
“Kunwari, may ano sila, may investment sila dun. Padala sila ng pera. Pero yung investment na yan, wala na. Yung pera hindi na yan babalik. Kaya walang taxes,” he added.
During the House committee hearing on its franchise application, ABS-CBN was accused of paying only a total of P1.4 billion taxes for 18 years which was equal to what rival GMA Network paid in 2018 alone.
But the Bureau of Internal Revenue declared that ABS-CBN has no tax liabilities. The former media giant might have avoided taxes through its companies in tax havens (including ABS-CBN Hungary) and exploiting the incentives package of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, the House committee failed to cite any tax violation or incentives abuse after 12 hearings.
In contrast, court records and documents showed that Marcos surreptitiously amassed hundreds of millions in dollars in wealth during his 20-year rule that he concealed in a global network of bank accounts, stocks, and dummy corporations Paris, Switzerland and Grand Cayman Island.