President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday appeared to have mended ties with Lucio Tan after Philippine Airlines settled unpaid dues and offered to mount a special flight for distressed migrant Filipino workers from Kuwait.
Speaking at the welcome event for repatriated OFWs from Kuwait, Duterte assured Tan, the chairman of PAL, that he would no longer bring up the businessman’s alleged tax liabilities in the future.
“Because of this incident, Mr. Lucio Tan, I’m going to shut up forever,” Duterte said.
“Wala ka nang marinig sa akin na salita na hindi ka nagbayad ng [tax]. OK na sa akin, tapos na. Nabayaran mo naman ‘yung taxes mo at ‘yung ipinakita mo. And mind you, I am ready to protect every businessman, kagaya ninyo,” he added.
Duterte had previously alleged Tan has as much as P30 billion in unpaid taxes. Last November, PAL settled its P6-billion unpaid air navigational charges to the government.
“Ito namang kay Lucio Tan, huwag kang mag-alala, walang harassment sa gobyerno ko ke magkasama tayo sa pulitika o magkalaban. Just do the right thing and I will do the right thing and we will be all right,” Duterte said.
Tan also chairs publicly-listed LT Group Inc., whose portfolio includes distilled spirits, beverages, tobacco, property development, and banking businesses.
It is the holding firm for subsidiaries such as Tanduay Distillers Inc., Tanduay Brands International Inc., Asia Brewery Inc., Fortune Tobacco Corp., Philippine National Bank, Saturn Holdings Inc., Paramount Landequities Inc., and Eton Properties Inc.