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Pacquiao feels 'harassed' over freeze order, borrows money for 'Yolanda' survivors

MANILA, Philippines - Eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao may have won impressively in his comeback fight, but he now faces a tougher opponent: a P2.2-billion tax fraud case.

In a phone-patch interview with ANC on Tuesday afternoon, Pacquiao said he was informed by his banks that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued the freeze order on his deposits over the case.

A newspaper report on Monday said that the Court of Tax Appeals ordered Pacquiao's bank deposits frozen over a tax case that arose from the alleged failure of his accountant to report in his income tax returns the multi-million-dollar taxes collected by the US Internal Revenue Service from his prize winnings from 2008 to 2009.

The report said the freeze order was issued two weeks ago but it was only announced on Monday.

Lawyer Margaret Guzman, Court of Tax Appeals clerk of court, meanwhile, clarified that it was the BIR and not the court that issued the freeze order on the bank deposits.

The boxing champion also cried foul over the freeze order.

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"Harassment talaga yung ginawa nila. Ang pakiusap ko lang sa kanila ay alisin nila yung garnish move para makasweldo naman ako sa mga tao ko," Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao added that he has nothing to hide.

"Hindi naman ako kriminal o magnanakaw na tao para magtago," Pacquiao said. "Ang binayaran kong tax sa America, kung nagkulang ako, e 'di hinabol na ako ng America."

As to extending help to the victims of Super Typhoon "Yolanda," the Filipino boxing icon said he has borrowed at least one million pesos to give relief aid for the areas affected by the disaster.

Pacquiao said his scheduled visit to Tacloban City will still push through and that he aims to help at least 10,000 families.

"Wala po kaming access sa lahat ng mga accounts, pati sa asawa ko. Ang ginawa ko para makatulong ako, nangutang ako para makapadala ako ng tulong para sa mga kababayan natin sa Tacloban," he said.

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