VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcoleta wrongly claims ABS-CBN ‘hid’ tax payments through subsidiary company Big Dipper


House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, a candidate for senator in the May 9 polls, claimed that media giant ABS-CBN Corp. “hid” the “right amount” of taxes it should pay through its subsidiary, Big Dipper.

This is false.


In a Feb 5. interview, MJ Montejar, host of SMNI News’ Point of Order, asked Marcoleta to weigh in on the ongoing investigation of Big Dipper, an “IT-enabled company” that focuses on digitization and distribution of content in the local and international market.

Marcoleta, without presenting any evidence, replied:

‘Yung Big Dipper kasi, MJ, dapat ang nanguna sa imbestigasyon nito [ay] ‘yung Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) sapagkat ang pinag-uusapan natin dito ay ‘yung malalim na isyu ng tax evasion. Talagang ginamit nila ‘yung Big Dipper para … itago nila ‘yung karampatang buwis na dapat na bayaran ng ABS-CBN.”

(MJ, the Bureau of Internal Revenue should have led the investigation of Big Dipper because we’re talking about the deep issue of tax evasion here. They (ABS-CBN Corporation) really used Big Dipper to … hide the right amount of taxes that ABS-CBN should pay.)

Source: SMNI News Official Youtube Channel, LIVE! Point of Order | February 5, 2022, Feb. 5, 2022, watch from 38:10 to 38:33

Big Dipper is a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corp. that oversees the network’s Media Asset Management system, including digitizing its analog video materials and checking video quality, among other responsibilities.


Big Dipper and ABS-CBN have been paying their taxes correctly over the years, according to officials from the BIR and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) who testified in a congressional hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise on July 1, 2020.

PEZA Director General Charito Plaza noted in the same hearing that the tax incentives granted to Big Dipper were “based on the [PEZA] law” that offers a range of fiscal incentives to enterprises, depending on their industry priorities. These incentives include income tax holidays from four to seven years, and a 5% special corporate income tax.

Plaza explained:

“The PEZA board is composed of DOST (Department of Science and Technology), we also have [the] Department of Finance, we have NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) and many others. So these are the agencies who are tasked to review and evaluate all the applications for (tax) incentives according to law. Ito pong lahat ng incentives na binibigay namin, sir, is based on the law, the PEZA law. There is no such thing as making PEZA the tax shield because all these incentives are being evaluated by all these agencies of government.”

Source: ABS-CBN News Channel, House of Representatives resumes ABS-CBN franchise hearing | ABS-CBN News, July 1, 2020, watch from 4:30:36 to 4:31:20

BIR Region 7-A Director Alvin Galanza also noted:

“As far as the tax payments by Big Dipper, I think they are paying, more or less, correctly their taxes.”

Source: watch from 4:24:51 to 4:25:08

When asked about ABS-CBN’s record in paying taxes, Assistant Commissioner Manuel Mapoy testified:

“As a corporate taxpayer […] ABS-CBN Corporation has been regularly paying its corporate taxes for the past years.

Source: watch from 2:06:05 to 2:06:15

Apart from Marcoleta, VERA Files Fact Check had previously flagged President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim during his 2021 State of the Nation Address that the broadcast network had not been paying its taxes properly. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte makes false claim on ABS-CBN’s tax ‘violation’)


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ABS-CBN Careers, ABS-CBN Big Dipper, Accessed Feb. 7, 2022

SMNI News Official Youtube Channel, LIVE! Point of Order | February 5, 2022, Feb. 5, 2022, ABS-CBN has no tax delinquency; ‘regularly’ paying taxes – BIR exec, July 1, 2020

GMA News Online, ABS-CBN paid taxes regularly, ‘in a lawful manner’ – BIR exec, July 1, 2020

Business World Online, ABS-CBN not tax delinquent, says BIR, July 1, 2020

Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Fiscal Incentives, Accessed Feb. 7, 2020

ABS-CBN News Channel, House of Representatives resumes ABS-CBN franchise hearing | ABS-CBN News, July 1, 2020


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)