Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña took to Facebook to question Justice Vitaliano Aguirre’s decision to order the city prosecutor to inhibit from conducting and resolving the preliminary investigation of the Banco de Oro’s tax case.
Osmeña earlier revealed that BDO Jones branch only paid P35 in business taxes in 2015.
“Justice Sec. Aguirre has ordered the Prosecutor in Cebu to inhibit himself from pursuing the case against BDO for paying our city only 35 pesos in taxes. He says this is “in the interest of public service,” he said in his Facebook post on June 8.
He then questioned why Aguirre made the move while using the “interest of public service” as an excuse.
“How can it possibly be in the interest of public service for a prosecutor who found probable cause to be forced to inhibit AT THE REQUEST OF THE ACCUSED?” Osmeña added.
The department order released by the Department of Justice and posted by the Cebu City mayor said that Aguirre’s decision was made in response to the request of Atty. Alvin C. Go, BDO’s SVP and Chief Legal Counsel.
“Look at the date of the letter. There is no movement on part of the new prosecutor since the order was given,” Osmeña noted.
Aguirre’s department order was dated April 6, 2017.
This led Osmeña to consider taking the concern to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Between this development and Michael Dino openly defending BDO (he said that what I’m doing is “terrorism”), I think it’s time to escalate this directly to the President,” he said.
“I will request an audience with him when he is available. I know he is handling many things right now, but I think this matter is serious enough to bring to his attention,” he added.
Last March 23, the mayor showed a document from the Cebu City Office of City Treasurer that proved BDO only paid P35 in business taxes, which he jokingly noted was the price of a fastfood burger.
“Do you know how much the BDO branch in Jones paid in business taxes for 2015? 35 pesos. Not 35 million. Not 35,000. THIRTY-FIVE pesos. Php35.00,” he wrote.
He also ridiculed the bank’s slogan, “We find ways.”
“They shouldn’t be shut down daw because “kawawa yung employees.” Billionaires using ordinary employees as hostages to let them break the law. Ironic that these employees have automatic tax deductions to their wages while their bosses perform magic first. BDO: “We find ways,” Osmeña said.
He assured that as the city mayor, he will do his duty and “find ways,” too.
“I find ways too. It is my duty. A father must find a way to provide for his family. Without taxes, we cannot fix the roads, collect the garbage, equip our police and firemen, or take care of the children roaming the streets,” he added.
Before ending his post, the outspoken mayor called BDO “tax-evaders and law breakers.”
“BDO is run by tax-evaders and law breakers. They will be shut down,” he said. “If BDO actually cares about their employees as much as they pretend to do, they should sell their branch to another bank or a local coop so the employees can keep their jobs. At least the new management might install chairs.”