Pacquiao calls Philippine tax complaint harassment

Manny Pacquiao described a criminal complaint against him by the

Philippine tax bureau as ”plain and simple harassment,” adding

Monday that he has never shortchanged the government.

The WBO welterweight champion who has won world titles in eight

divisions and is now a Philippine congressman dismissed speculation

that he may follow boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. to prison, saying ”I

would rather see him inside the ring, not in a jail.”

Mayweather is due to serve a 90-day jail sentence in a domestic

violence case in Nevada, starting in June. He and Pacquiao have

been unable to agree on terms for a fight.

Pacquiao was slapped with a criminal complaint for allegedly

failing to submit tax documents.

Prosecutors haven’t decided if there is enough evidence for a

court case. Pacquiao could face up to two years in prison if

convicted.

Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said last week that

Pacquiao and his representatives were given many chances to submit

the documents but failed to do so, prompting the filing of what can

be likened to a contempt complaint.

She said there was a significant drop in Pacquiao’s tax payment

in 2010 from a year earlier, and her bureau is trying to find out

if he paid the correct taxes.

Even if he paid taxes in the United States, where he had fought

several times, he still needed to report those payments and submit

documents to the Philippine tax bureau, Henares said.

”Over the years as a boxer, a product endorser and businessman,

I have not shortchanged the government for what it is due,”

Pacquiao said.

He lamented that tax officials ”did not even bother to wait a

few days after my fight to give me the letter,” even when ”the

world knew I was fighting for the country’s glory in the United

States.”

Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Timothy Bradley Jr. at the MGM

Grand Garden in Las Vegas on June 9.