Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, October 27, 2008

Audit of 2 Subic-based oil companies sought

By. Paolo Romero – Philippine Star

The President Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) has requested the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to conduct an audit of two Subic-based controversial oil companies that were earlier caught smuggling billions of pesos worth of petroleum and other fuel products.

PASG chief Undersecretary Antonio Villar asked to Audit Unioil and its sister company Oilink to find out if they have enough stocks of oil to cover their unpaid customs duties and taxes amounting to P2.7 billion.

He said he made the request in preparation for the possible filing of appropriate charges against the two oil companies if they failed to settle their obligations.

“I just want to make sure these firms would not be able to short-change the development. Last year, we found out that Oilink was importing oil without paying the corresponding Customs duties and taxes.”

“When it was grounded, it put up Unioil for reasons which are not hard to deduce. And now they are at it again. PASG will definitely not allow anyone to just simplify deceive the government of billions of taxes,” Villar said.

In his letters of request to COA Chairman Reynaldo Villar and BIR Commissioner Sixto Esquivias IV dated Oct.22, 2008, Villar cited the need for auditing of the two companies due to the temporary closure of their depot in Mariveles, Bataan pursuant to the provision of the Traffic and Customs Code of the Philippines, Section 1508.

PASG closed the depot after it found out that Unioil has been siphoning off the grounded oil stocks of Oilink charged last year for not paying billions of pesos worth of taxes and duties for its oil importations.

The closure has again placed Villar at loggerheads with officials and stockholders of Unioil and Oilink. Complicating matters is the move of the BoC to declare the closure as illegal, “raising doubts on the BoC’s sincerity in eradicating big-time smuggling that tolls heavily on the national coffers,” he said.

He explained the request for audit is in the best interest of the two companies as this may result in the lifting of the orders for them to temporarily stop withdrawing oil from their depot in Mariveles.” Pending investigation and audit by COA and BIR.”

The investigation and audit are essential to protect the interest of the government as Customs collectors in Bataan discovered the huge amount of taxes and duties Oilink should have paid.

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