Kris Aquino tops USD taxpayer billionaires

BIR publishes list, so people know those who pay taxes faithfully

With her string of failed relationships and over display of emotions on television, people either hate or love Kris Aquino, with nothing in-between, as some showbiz kibitzers believe.

The 42-year-old youngest sister of President Benigno Aquino III (he has three other sisters), however, is the darling of government tax collector, as she topped the list of taxpayers for 2011, beating even the Filipino US dollar-billionaires on Forbes list.

Smart Communications Inc, meanwhile, topped the list of corporate and institutional taxpayers for 2011 by paying government 10.23 billion pesos (Dh910.9m ; $248m) in taxes, followed by Manila Electric Co (Meralco) at 8.3 billion pesos (Dh738m; $201.21m).

Aquino, who recently hogged the headlines for a legal tiff with ex-husband James Yap, a professional basketball player, paid 49.87 million pesos (Dh4.44m; $1.21m) in taxes for 2011, according to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

She is one of the top-earners if not the highest earner in the entertainment industry, with numerous product endorsements and three TV shows.

Others in the Top 5 among corporate taxpayers were Shell Philippines Exploration BV and Chevron Malampaya LLC. Both are involved in the Malampaya natural gas project offshore the central Philippine province of Palawan, and dairy firm Nestlé Philippines Inc.

The country’s largest beer producer, San Miguel Brewery, was on sixth place while cigarette firm Philippine Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp was eighth and Philex Mining Corp, the country’s biggest gold and copper producer, placed 10th.

None of the Chinese-Filipino tycoons, who are regularly mentioned by Forbes as among the world’s US dollar-billionaires, were among the first 10 in the list of Top 500 individual taxpayers posted by BIR on its website.

BIR Commissioner Kim Henares told reporters that by publishing the lists of taxpayers by region, her office hopes to inform the people as to who among the rich are paying their taxes faithfully.

“What we are telling people is: ‘You know who are the rich people in your cities, in your communities,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “If they are not on these lists, you have to wonder why. The lists also serve as guides for our regional offices.”

The country’s richest person, mall owner Henry Sy Sr, was 15th on the BIR list while Lucio Ta. Real-estate magnate David Consunji, who also appeared on the Forbes list for the first time this year, was the 176th biggest taxpayer.

The other businessmen on the list were Orlando Vea, of Smart Communications, who placed 16th, and TV5 CEO Ray Espinosa at 20th.

Gregory Deane Reichow, vice president of Sunpower Philippines, followed Aquino on the list with 38.2 million pesos (Dh3.4m; $925,613.19) and then Lauro Baja Jr, formerly the country’s permanent representative to the UN and now (as BIR believes) head of the Philippine unit of the Swiss Bank UBS, who paid 34.26 million pesos (Dh3.05m; $830,143.14).

The chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT), Manuel V Pangilinan, was the fourth-largest taxpayer at 25.99 million pesos (Dh2.31m; $628,755.82), followed by Aurelio Montinola III, president and CEO of Bank of the Philippine Islands, at 24.47 million pesos (Dh2.18m; $592,925.71).

The others who landed in the Top 10 of the biggest taxpayers for 2011 were Gerardo Ablaza, president of Manila Water; Philippine Ambassador to Portugal Philippe Lhuillier; Victor M Angeles; Roberto Panlilio, of JP Morgan Chase & Co; and GMA Network Chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon.

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