BIR probes UMak-STI deal

Zinnia B. Dela Peña - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is looking into possible tax liabilities in connection with the allegedly anomalous deal entered into by the University of Makati (UMak) and the Systems Technology Institute Inc. (STI).

BIR commissioner Kim Henares said the agency received a copy of a letter sent by Sen. Antonio Trillanes urging authorities to probe those involved in UMak deal, which allegedly resulted in the diversion of nearly P500 million in government.

“We are studying the letter he sent us. This is not about personalities. Our obligation is to make sure everybody abides by the rules,” Henares said.

In a statement, Trillanes said UMak officials diverted P547.42 million in funds intended for the school to a private corporation allegedly owned by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

In December 2003, the government of Makati and STI formed Philippine Health Educators Inc. to manage UMak’s College of Nursing.

Other individuals implicated in the UMak mess were former Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., UMak president Tomas Lopez, STI chairman Eusebio Tanco, STI president Monico Jacob, Annabelle Borromeo and Jack Arroyo.

A plunder case involving the questionable transactions entered into by UMak and STI is pending in the Office of the Ombudsman.

Aside from the BIR, Trillanes also asked the Anti-Money Laundering Council, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to probe the matter.

He said the Binays and the STI group allegedly connived with one another in diverting P547.42 million to PHEI.

Considering the sizeable government funds involved, Trillanes said the PSE and SEC should investigate the transactions.

“They are facing serious charges involving plunder, malversation of public funds, graft and corruption, among others,” he said.

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