BIR chief resigns–Palace

By Thea Alberto, Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 10:34:00 10/10/2008

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Lilian Hefti has resigned, Malacañang has announced.

Deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said in a text message Friday that Hefti submitted his resignation days ago to President Gloria Mapacapagal-Arroyo.

“President Arroyo has already made her choice as to Hefti’s replacement but the announcement will be upon the arrival of Secretary Gary Teves tomorrow [Saturday] who is in the US,” added Golez.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, in an interview at the House of Representatives, cited health reasons for Hefti’s resignation although Press Secretary Jesus Dureza told Palace reporters that one could also be the BIR’s alleged “failure to meet some targets.”

“The President measures the performance [of her officials],” Dureza said, noting that in the case of the BIR, “meeting revenue targets is a very important part of economic growth.”

Ermita confirmed Golez’s statement that the President has found a replacement for Hefti, but did not also name the successor.

Hefti, a former BIR deputy commissioner, was appointed in June 2007 as officer-in-charge of the revenue agency after the Palace sacked then Commissioner Jose Mario Buñag.

Hefti’s resignation came a day after Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol left his post to go to Union Bank as board member and to prepare for the 2010 election, where he will run for Congress.

The BIR, which accounts for about two-thirds of government revenues, is hard-pressed to meet its target to keep the government’s deficit goal. For 2009, economic managers had said that they expected a budget deficit of P60 billion.

The bureau conceded that it might fall short of its 2008 collection target of P854 billion, partly because of the slowdown in the economy’s growth and the tax relief granted by law to individual taxpayers.

Upon her assumption into office last year, Hefti started implementing several measures to boost tax collection such as auditing tax remittances made by the country’s Top 10,000 corporations, cleaning up of the BIR taxpayer database, and intensifying collection of the agency’s accounts receivables.

With a report from Reuters


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