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Mob’s attack dog

For a state auditor not to know that she should pay taxes on income derived from the country, which is a basic taxation tenet, is truly absurd.

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A most sinister presence in the alliance of detractors called 1Sambayan is former Commission on Audit (CoA) commissioner Heidi Mendoza, who through intense lobbying from members of the yellow mob landed her the juicy post as undersecretary general of the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services.

Mendoza is listed among the co-convenors of the assembly of hypocrites.

She is beholden to the mob as she was appointed by then President Benigno Aquino III as CoA commissioner.

In February 2005, following the retirement of CoA chair Grace Pulido-Tan, Mendoza took over as acting head of the agency.

After resigning from the CoA in 2005 over her frustrations with the agency, she testified in Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia’s plunder trial beginning in 2007, before being thrusted into the UN post. There are suggestions that she will gun for a Senate seat in next year’s polls.

Her integrity, however, is not beyond doubt, as in 2014, questions were raised on her failure to remit taxes for lucrative consultancy jobs with mostly international funding agencies.

What takes the cake was that the services she rendered all appeared related to government projects where public money was involved.

Mendoza broke into public consciousness during the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) funds scam controversy in 2011 where she and former AFP budget officer retired Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa were the main whistleblowers.

Apparently impressed with her performance, or theatrics, at the Senate hearings on the AFP fund controversy, Aquino appointed her as a CoA commissioner, and not long after, Mendoza led the crafting of the selective Special Report on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for 2007 to 2009, which was designed to implicate senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. to the P10 billion pork barrel scam perpetrated by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

Mendoza was given by Pulido-Tan sole authority over the Special Report on PDAF to the extent that the only other CoA commissioner then, Rowena Guanzon who is now Commission on Elections commissioner, was restricted from inquiring into the operation.

In an affidavit she wrote to the Commission on Appointment, she claimed to have no tax liability since she was not required to pay under the law.
Under a regulation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), however, only foreign nationals working for international agencies were not required to pay income tax.

Filipinos working with the Asian Development Bank, which is based in Manila, for instance, are required to remit tax payments to the government.

It was not clear whether Mendoza saying that no levy was charged on her P7 million or so earnings was legal, or that she merely assumed that she was not required to pay taxes.

The BIR directive, however, resolved the issue and indicated that she was liable for income tax payments.

For a state auditor not to know that she should pay taxes on income derived from the country, which is a basic taxation tenet, is truly absurd, and clearly there was deceit involved in her decision not to remit taxes.

Somebody who willfully deceived the government, even if she tries to rectify the infraction, cannot be relied on to make an objective decision regarding the audits undertaken by CoA or any other agencies.

More so, the multilateral organization should question her posting, which involves internal audit, investigation, inspection and evaluation services of the organization.

She should have known as a former guardian of government finances even before the BIR issued the directive on Filipinos employed by foreign agencies that it is a duty of citizens to pay taxes from their local earnings.

Her partisan nature is also too evident. For instance, a graft case against former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay, wife of Vice President Jojo Binay, had resurfaced in 2014 at the Sandiganbayan despite previous court decisions to dismiss the charges.

It was Mendoza who supervised the supposed audit of the Makati government during the term of Mrs. Binay.

Mendoza symbolizes the outright duplicity in the 1Sambayan pursuits.

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