Dating game

Still too expensive?
In the wake of pronouncements from GMA Network, Inc. officials that they will sell the network for P100 billion, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said he is still interested in the station. But he quipped that the price “is too expensive.” And how does GMA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Felipe L. Gozon view his company these days? For him, the network is like a lady who has reached her “maturity” and could now be entrusted to “suitors.” Asked if he was ready to let go of a company, which under his chairmanship displaced its rival at the top in the ratings game, Mr. Gozon replied: “There is nothing permanent in this life. Even your children, you let them go when they reach the period of maturity, right?” He likened GMA to a lady with multiple suitors. “GMA is very attractive and that is not only to [Mr. Pangilinan]. When you are a beautiful lady, you will have a lot suitors.”

Under the microscope
The 82 multi-million dollar accounts allegedly held by Chief Justice Renato C. Corona could have a tax implication, Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner (BIR) Kim S. Jacinto-Henares said. “It’s not so much the final withholding taxes because the banks already collect those,” she explained. “But those dollar accounts are assets. And for you to acquire an asset, you must have had the income for that. That income should be subject to income taxes.” Mr. Corona’s bank accounts supposedly had a “transactional balance” of as much as $12 million. This is not the first time in the ongoing impeachment trial that the BIR has found issue with Mr. Corona’s taxes. In January, Ms. Henares testified against the head magistrate and his family’s income tax returns. She pointed out several discrepancies, particularly the “minimal” incomes declared against the assets they acquired and disclosed in their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. However, when asked whether the BIR would do anything about the dollar accounts, Ms. Henares kept mum. “Anything involving investigations are strictly confidential,” she said.

Last words
Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga, Jr. could well have been giving his valedictory address at the launch the Public Management Development Program (PMDP) last week — one of his last commitments. The PMDP, which provides scholarships for senior government officials to pursue continuing education at the Development Academy of the Philippines, was one of the key initiatives under Mr. Paderanga’s two-year stint as National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general. As he addressed his colleagues at the launch, Mr. Paderanga explained that his doctors advised him to take a break from work, given his high blood pressure. The NEDA chief initially wanted to continue on. “The people are my boss. But, I have another boss at home,” he joked. “My wife told me, ‘Give me a few more years with you. Don’t you surprise me yet’.” Mr. Paderanga is set to fly out to Japan to rest, but he intends to return to his post as a professor in the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) afterwards. Mr. Paderanga, who specializes in urban and regional economics, public economics and development economics, will likely be back in the state university by the second semester. He also endorsed his replacement, UPSE Dean Arsenio M. Balisacan, to his colleagues. “Please be nice to him. Like most of us, he sacrificed a lot to take this position,” Mr. Paderanga said.

Life goes on
While Chief Justice Renato C. Corona will be busy fighting for survival at the Senate impeachment court, Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima, who sat as witness in that historic trial, will be busy fighting her own battle — in a volleyball court. The Cabinet official said during the department’s flag ceremony on Monday that she would miss a part of the impeachment trial when Mr. Corona takes the witness stand since she will be playing at the volleyball championship game in the Justice department’s sports fest that ends this week.

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