SC upholds acquittal of Mikey Arroyo in ₱27-M tax evasion case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 5) —  The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the acquittal of former Pampanga 2nd District Representative Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo in his P27-million tax evasion case.

In an extended resolution dated September 12, 2018, the high court said it junked the government's appeal assailing the Court of Tax Appeals' (CTA) decision to clear Arroyo "for its procedural defects and substantive deficiencies." 

"The CTA in Division, noting that the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) did not discover the sources of Arroyo's vaunted income, fully disclosed the various reasons why the State's theory of the charges could not prosper, and how the chosen audit procedure known as the net worth method did not suffice to prove his criminal liability under the informations," the resolution read. 

Arroyo, son of current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was accused by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for allegedly misdeclaring and evading ₱27.3 million worth of taxes for the years 2004, 2006, and 2007. 

But the CTA on March 21, 2018 cleared the former Congressman of the tax case, saying that state failed to "prove his (Arroyo's) guilt beyond reasonable doubt."

The Philippine government, through the Office of the Solicitor General, then filed a petition for certiorari— an appeal asking the Supreme Court to review a decision of a lower court— assailing CTA's earlier decision on the tax case.

SC, however, said CTA "did not act capriciously or whimsically in absolving" Arroyo of the said charges.  

"As its 69-page decision reveals, the CTA in Division assiduously sifted the evidence and analyzed the records; it explained the merits of the charges upon reviewing the elements of the offenses charged and determining whether or not the evidence adduced by the Prosecution established such elements," the resolution noted. 

Arroyo, meanwhile, is eyeing a comeback at the House of Representatives as he had filed a certificate of candidacy for Pampanga 2nd District Representative for the 2019 midterm polls. Should he win the seat, he will be taking the post vacated by his mother who is now the House speaker.