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SC upholds tax evasion case vs actress Judy Ann Santos

By Tetch Torres
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:36:00 08/26/2008

Filed Under: Celebrities, Entertainment (general), Judiciary (system of justice), Crime

MANILA, Philippines ? (UPDATE) The tax evasion case against actress Judy Ann Santos will push through after the Supreme Court dismissed her petition for review.

In a 27-page decision, the court?s third division said that the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) en banc that upheld a ruling by its first division against the actress did not err in dismissing her motion to extend the time for her to file a petition for review of her case.

?Petitioner cannot file a petition for review with the CTA en banc to appeal the resolution of the CTA first division,? the high court said.

?In sum, the CTA en banc did not err in denying petitioner?s motion for reconsideration,? the high court said.

The actress appealed to the CTA en banc on the decision of its first division that dismissed her motion to quash the information against her.

In her motion to quash, Santos said the information that accused her of alleged violation of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) was defective because the CTA had no jurisdiction on the case and that her right to due process had been violated.

But the CTA en banc had dismissed her motion, saying that a motion to quash is interlocutory and that a denial of such motion is a go signal for the prosecution to push through with the case.

"Equally settled is the rule that an order denying a motion to quash, being interlocutory, is not immediately appealable nor can it be the subject of a petition for certiorari. Such order may only be reviewed in the ordinary course of law by an appeal from the judgment after trial," the CTA en banc had said.

In the same ruling, the high court also said that it did not also think that Santos? right to due process had been violated because she was given an opportunity to explain herself by being asked to produce evidence.

The high court added that the equal protection clause was not violated because her case was different from that of singer-actress Regine Velasquez who was also charged with tax evasion but which was later dismissed by the Department of Justice.

The high court agreed with the Court of Tax Appeals that if Santos' basis was the case of Velasquez, the actress should have filed a petition for review with the DOJ.

It also took note of the fact that Velasquez?s case was dismissed because her tax liability was not yet fully determined when the complaint against her was filed with the DOJ.

An investigation by the BIR showed that Judy Ann Santos incurred a P2.714-million tax deficiency in 2002.



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