Now, more evidence has come out na hindi lang yan ang mina-nipulate nila, although the bunag revelations are getting little play in the media. From Ninez Cacho Olivares:
Fudging figures and window-dressing to make the financial figures look good are truly hallmarks of Gloria Arroyo and her economic team. And when all these come tumbling down, there is always a scapegoat — and in this recent case of low tax collections in the first quarter of the year, it is resigned, or sacked, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) chief Jose Mario Buñag.
So why doesn’t Gloria sack her Finance Secretary, Margarito Teves, since it is he who is in charge of the Finance department and more important, it was he, so Buñag alleges, who had pressed the big corporations to pay their taxes in advance last year, to make the tax collection figures look good before the international creditors and ratings firms, and create the impression that the deficit target would be easily met?
The BIR chief can only take directions from his boss, who is Teves. So why is Teves getting off the hook, when it was he who insisted on the window-dressing of the tax collections?
More to the point, Teves certainly knew that, as payments were made in advance by the big companies to inflate the collection figures last year, the next year’s quarter collection figures would necessarily be down, since tax payments were made in advance.
But even as Buñag was sacked, he was offered an ambassadorial post in Europe by Gloria, perhaps in a bid to salve the ignominy of his having been sacked, or to ensure that he keeps quiet. But from Buñag’s recent statements, it appears that he is ready to spill some beans, as he declined the ambassadorial offer and pointed the finger of blame on Teves and other “high officials” whose “incompetence” will come to play sooner than later.
As he put it in his statement to the media, “Higher authorities in the government’s financial institutions...like to wash their hands of responsibility for the dire consequences of their unrealistic, failed and bungled policies.”
On imposed targets, the Buñag statement said these are “humanly impossible” to meet “because of the economy’s performance that was lower than target last year.”
If one follows the logic of Buñag, it is almost certain that whoever sits as BIR chief will still be encountering the same problems, as he pointed out that the tax collection cannot outperform the economy. Still one wonders: Why should a first quarter performance be the gauge for sacking the BIR chief? But Teves apparently wanted Buñag out, and at the same time, pass on the blame solely on the sacked BIR chief, while making himself look good.
All this merely goes to show just how much of Gloria and her finance managers’ claimed economic “progress” is propaganda and window-dressing. Even that claim of a 6.9-percent gross domestic product quarter growth is definitely fudged, as the production and consumption data don’t match. Moreover, if the agriculture sector continuously experiences growth, it stands to reason that the weather is no longer a factor. One wonders then: If there is such continued growth in the agricultural sector quarter after quarter, come rain or come shine, why then is the government importing millions in tonnage of rice for the country?
Sabi ni Ernie Maceda:
Falsifier. Fired BIR chief Jose Mario Buñag has let the cat out of the bag. He charged Finance Secretary Margarito “Gary” Teves with “window-dressing” the 2006 government income and deficit figures. Buñag said he was being made a scapegoat and sacrificial lamb for the failures of Teves. He said it should be Teves who should be fired.
Yes, yes, yes, the GMA administration has been quite adept at window-dressing its figures including changing its definition of poverty and inflating the figures on loans and assistance secured during her foreign trips. Even the annual crime statistics are tailored to reflect a decline every year in crime.
And who can forget the inflated job creation figures started during the time of presidential adviser for jobs Cito Lorenzo?
More details on the Bunag-Teves bulgaran:
Padding indeed is a household word in Malacañang.
Even as Gloria is kept busy fending off allegations that she again padded the votes for her allies in the just-concluded mid-term elections, comes now the revelation that even economic data are getting the same treatment.
Obviously hurting, Jose Mario Buñag, who was sacked from his post as Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) chief, blamed Finance Secretary Margarito Teves for fudging the fiscal numbers last year by asking big taxpayers to forward their dues. Buñag explained that since the bulk of the tax dues has been paid already, collections for the first quarter would naturally shrink, thus resulting in missed current revenue targets.
The sacking of Buñag, which apparently received an imprimatur from Teves, happened a day after the government reported a disappointing P1.7-billion deficit in the budget in May which raised a strong sentiment that the whole-year budget goal of a P63-billion deficit may be missed. The deficit in the first five months was already P41.8 billion.
It is not in Buñag’s rationalizing of low revenue collections that caught the attention of many but the fact that Teves was engaged in the padding of finances that came as a jolt.
In business parlance, this is called window-dressing, which is not exactly illegal since no numbers have been manufactured, yet this is considered a violation of good corporate ethics in the private sector.
Most companies engage in window-dressing at the end of a year, or a fiscal year for some, to spruce up their books that would be presented to stockholders. This is an accepted fact in the business world.
For government to do this, however, would risk serious international backlash particularly among investors who get panicky whenever there are even suggestions that data they were being fed are padded.
Under the regime of Gloria Arroyo, many suspect the padding of economic figures may be a practice to dolly up Gloria whose slide in popularity in various surveys seems to be without end.
In fact, there was a time when Socio-economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri had to laboriously explain how the country missed landing in a technical recession, which consists of two straight quarters of economic contraction, by managing a 0.1-percent growth.
When the government reported a 6.9-percent GDP growth in the first quarter, most of the country’s economists merely twiddled their thumbs.
Buñag’s squealing on Teves only confirms what was lingering in the minds of many that the government indeed is into the practice of fudging numbers.
According to Buñag, the advance payments were made by various taxpayers upon the personal calls and requests made, and this is well known in the BIR, by no less than Finance Secretary Teves himself.
The revelation was believable since last year was a crucial turning point for the country’s fiscal showcase.
The sales tax was expanded and increased and the expectation was that the fiscal picture would start to brighten. Representatives of credit rating agencies were around town to check the numbers.
With the Finance secretary initiating such practice, the padding of numbers is expected to go all the way down the line. What or who would stop a lower-ranked government official to tweak a number or two to ramp up economic data?
Buñag, in his fit of pain, in being used as a scapegoat for the Arroyo administration’s fiscal mismanagement, opened a can of worms that would, from now on, place more doubts on data that the government periodically puts out.
As a rule, figures don’t lie, but not in the desperate world of Gloria where figures become a tool for deception.
But I can't wait for winnie monsode to come to Arroyo's aid again and tell us these are lies, all lies.