Manila — The Court of Tax Appeals in the Philippines has issued a gag order against the boxing hero Manny Pacquiao and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) over their bitter tax dispute.
CTA First Division presiding judge Roman del Rosario ordered both sides not to make any statement about Pacquiao’s tax case publicly, according to reports.
Judge Ramon del Rosario told lawyers for both sides “to make no public pronouncements that may create opinion for or against” in the controversy that came out just after Pacquiao comeback victory over American Brandon Rios on November 24.
It was for the best interest of both parties,” said internal revenue lawyer Felix Velasco after the brief hearing.
The gag order also include Pacquiao’s mother Dionesia and other personalities involve in the case.
Manny Pacquiao did not attend the hearing and is said to be in his home in the southern Philippines.
The court postponed the next hearing to January 16, 2014.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue alleges that Pacquiao owes $50 million in back taxes from 2008 and 2009.
Internal revenue commissioner Kim Henares said Pacquiao may have initially owed the BIR $25 million, but the amount has since doubled due to surcharges and interest.
Pacquiao, who was listed last year in Forbes Magazine as the 14th highest-paid athlete in the world, had accused the tax bureau of freezing his bank accounts and harassing him for political purposes.