Last week, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) weighed in against boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in a move that doused cold water on Manny’s celebrations after his recent triumphant return to the ring against Brandon Rios. This signals the beginning of hostilities between Manny and the equally-feisty BIR Commissioner Kim Henares.
Commish Kim is one of the bright prospects in Pnoy’s stable, with an unblemished record that includes wins over such stars as Judy Ann Santos, Richard Gomez, Regine Velasquez and Renato ‘The Chief’ Corona. She will fight tooth-and-nail to ensure her spotless no-loss record will not be laid waste by Manny.
On the other hand, despite wins over illustrious boxing greats Oscar de la Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Eric Morales, Manny enters the new ring a slight underdog. This is a fight in a new environment, with new rules, and with a new adversary. A newbie in this match, Manny will have to learn the trade and techniques as he circles around the ring with a grizzled opponent.
The Henares camp’s main arsenal will focus on time – invoking that Manny had been given so much time to work on the documents asked for – two years, in fact – and not to comply with the requirements would have to be a deliberate or preposterously incompetent act on Manny’s part.
The Pacquiao camp however will be counterpunching, arguing that documents had been presented, but only to be rejected time and again by Kim’s cohorts. Pacquiao is expected to take the offensive on the issues of sensitivity and timing, coming at a time when the country needs something to be happy about – amidst the government mishandling of the Yolanda relief program, the PDAF and DAP corruption issues, the Zamboanga siege, and more.
Kim will jab with ‘the need for Manny to be a law-abiding citizen, a role model for everyone.’ Manny will parry with documents on taxes paid promptly over the years. Kim’s body punches will work on penalties and procedures. Manny will dance away with what he sincerely believes were proper accounting practices.
Kim will obviously have the advantage in this tax title fight, this being in her environment, her hometown. Pacquiao fans are wary of a possible hometown decision, knowing all too well that in BIR-land, there is an art and a science to taxes. It can be an ‘art’ if they want to help you, and a cruel, exact science, if they want to cripple you.
Ironically, it is the loser here who wins a title. Should Pacman lose, he will acquire the title as the Tax Evader champion of the Philippines. Such a cruel and inglorious way to go for a man who has given the country so much pride and honor. Should the conquering Kim lose, she will go down in history as just another manipulative lackey under Pnoy’s Yellow Army Promotions, the Tax Tormentor Queen of the country.
This slugfest has become a hot topic everywhere, and it seems that the country has become so polarized, turning brothers against each other, husbands against wives, amigos against amigas, dogs against cats, apples against oranges.
And the bookies are having a heyday. It is said that the intelligent bettors – those who go with their heads – will go to Kim ‘The Cannibal’ Henares; while the sentimental bettors – those who decide with their hearts – will go with Manny ‘The Pacman’ Pacquiao. Between the head and the heart, who do you think wins?
Methinks we will have something similar to the Pacquiao – Bradley split decision here, with Kim the Conqueror winning by way of the judges’ tallies, but with the Pacman winning the crowd over to his side. A strong voice of dissent will resonate across the arena, as the crowd throw coins and precious popcorn. The decision is clearly unpopular and unacceptable to many. And it will be up to the Yellow Army Promotions, feeling the wrath of the unruly crowd, to conjure new ways to keep the crowd happy.