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DOJ asked to probe LP backer's mining taxes.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the tax liabilities of long-time Liberal Party (LP) contributor Patrick Angelo 'Eric' Gutierrez and Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice.

In a letter sent to the DOJ on July 23, the DENR said Erice and Gutierrez, whose family owns SR Metals Inc. (SRMI), may have failed to 'disclose and comply fully with [their] tax obligations.'

5-percent tax

Citing a complaint by Rodney Basiana, Environment Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh urged the DOJ to determine if SRMI paid the 5-percent tax on gross proceeds.

Teh also forwarded a letter to the Bureau of Internal Revenue on the finding of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) that SRMI extracted minerals beyond the 50,000-ton annual volume limit for small-scale miners from its mining site.

Basiana, owner of Basiana Mining Exploration Corp. (BMEC), charged that Erice and five other SRMI executives, including Gutierrez, allegedly falsified documents on their mining operations.

Small scale?

He said SRMI used the documents of BMEC, which was awarded a 81-hectare small-scale mining license in Tubay, Agusan with a 50,000-ton annual limit on ore extraction.

Basiana claimed that SRMI used the receipt for the P5,520 that BMEC paid for its application for a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSAI) in 1997.

Exceeding limit

However, Basiana claimed that SRMI had already sold P2.8 billion worth of nickel ore, exceeding the yearly 50,000-ton limit many times over and causing damage to the environment.

'Within a decade, SRMI had realized over P28 billion in revenues from nickel ore shipments to China, as records of the Philippine Ports Authority and MGB would show,' Basiana said in his complaint.

Plane owner

Erice, a member of the opposition LP, was a former executive of SRMI, which operates an 81-hectare mining area in Tubay, Agusan del Norte province.

Gutierrez is a long-time LP campaign donor who figured in controversies when he provided planes for the use of former President Benigno Aquino III in 2010 and then LP presidential candidate Manuel Araneta Roxas in 2016.

In the 2016 campaign, then candidate Rodrigo Duterte also accused Gutierrez of not paying taxes for his planes.

In January 2016, SRMI was given by Aquino the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 29, 2018
Words:440
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