Tax court affirms ruling to drop raps vs. Camp John Hay

By Benjamin Pulta

August 7, 2023, 6:20 pm

<p>Camp John Hay <em>(Facebook photo)</em></p>

Camp John Hay (Facebook photo)

MANILA – The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has affirmed its earlier ruling to dismiss criminal charges filed in 2015 by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against Camp John Hay Hotel Corp. (CJHHC) for alleged refusal to comply with a subpoena to produce financial records.

The tax court affirmed its Oct. 15, 2021 decision in favor of Ferdinand Santos in his capacity as CJHHC president.

“We subscribe to the findings of the court in division when it stated that the public prosecutor should be given a wide latitude of discretion in the conduct of a preliminary investigation,” the tax court said in its Aug. 3 ruling made public Monday.

The CTA also sided with the Department of Justice (DOJ) which ruled there was not sufficient proof to warrant the filing of information after the investigating prosecutor found no evidence to prove that the respondent was apprised and informed of whatever records and documents needed to be presented.

The case originally assigned for preliminary investigation to the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office alleged the firm failed to obey BIR summons.

The violation is punishable with a fine of PHP5,000 to PHP10,000 and imprisonment of one to two years.

The case was eventually elevated to the DOJ through a petition for review.

The court noted that since BIR representatives armed with a letter of authority were able to conduct an audit and examination of the petitioner’s records at CJHHC’s office without any indication that it was prevented from doing so, “it can reasonably be inferred that it (BIR) was able to access and examine whatever is lacking in the submitted documents as of July 9, 2014.”

The CTA said if after such audit and examination, there are still documents that have not been submitted or presented, “prudence dictates that private respondent should have been informed.” (PNA)