MANILA (Mabuhay) — Former Chief Justice Renato Corona refused to enter a plea for six counts of tax evasion leveled against him before the Court of Tax Appeals.
Corona kept his silence so the court entered a not guilty plea in his behalf.
The government filed 12 counts of tax evasion against the former chief magistrate: six for violation of Section 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and another six for violation of Section 254.
Corona’s lawyers filed an urgent motion insisting that Corona should be arraigned only for violating Section 255, or failure to file income tax returns. They argued that both sections constituted the same acts of tax evasion under the NIRC.
Following the arguments, the tax court ordered that Corona be arraigned for violations of Section 255 and deferred proceedings for charges under Section 254 or attempt to avoid or defeat tax collection.
Corona lawyer Reinhard Sanchez said they refused to enter a plea because they intended to appeal the tax court’s decision to arraign the former chief justice.
The charges rose from Corona’s alleged failure to file income tax returns for the years 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010. His tax deficiency for the said years were broken down as follows:
All are inclusive of interest and surcharges.
The prosecution has five days to comment on the urgent motion.
Tentative date for preliminary conference is on May 4, 2015. (MNS)