Bayan Muna seeks probe of unpaid Marcos estate tax

PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM AND LIBRARY

BAYAN Muna party-list has filed a resolution asking the House of Representatives to investigate unpaid taxes of the estate of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Bayan Muna Reps. Ferdinand R. Gaite, Carlos Isagani T. Zarate and Eufemia C. Cullamat sought the probe in aid of legislation.

“It has been around 25 years since the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) assessed the estate tax deficiencies on the Marcos estate in 1997 and more than two decades since the Supreme Court ruled with finality on the estate tax deficiency in 1999,” they said. “Yet, no payment has been made by the heirs of Marcos.”

BIR has confirmed that it sent a demand letter to the Marcos heirs in December to pay the estate taxes that have ballooned to more than P200 billion due to interest and other penalties.

“Worse, there is a possibility that this tax deficiency may not be collected at all in the event of another Marcos presidency,” according to a copy of the resolution. The son of the late strongman Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. is leading in presidential opinion polls.

The congressmen cited retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio T. Carpio, who said the written demand for the payment of estate tax deficiencies must be renewed every five years.

Mr. Carpio noted that if Marcos, Jr. wins in the May election, the tax might no longer be collected “to the damage and prejudice of the government.”

The congressmen said the multibillion estate tax could fund much needed aid and social services amid a coronavirus pandemic.

The camp of Mr. Marcos has said the tax case remains pending in court. Marcos lawyer and spokesman Victor D. Rodriguez emphasized that Mr. Marcos was not liable for the estate tax. 

Also on Monday, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas Secretary-General Thompson Lantion said they expect a landslide win for Mr. Marcos.

In a statement, he said Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” M. Domagoso must have an “enlightened reason” for urging Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo to quit the presidential race.

Mr. Domagoso and fellow presidential candidates Senator Panfilo M. Lacson and former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales on Sunday accused the vice-president of negative campaigning, as they vowed to continue their election campaigns.

The three are trailing behind Mr. Marcos, the frontrunner in opinion polls, and Ms. Robredo, who is a distant second.

Political analysts earlier said the three focused too much on Ms. Robredo instead of Mr. Marcos, Jr.

Mr. Marcos kept his lead in Pulse Asia Research, Inc.’s presidential opinion poll last month, with 56% of Filipinos saying they would vote for him, even if his rating fell by 4 points. Still in second place was Ms. Robredo, whose rating rose by 9 points to 24%.

She was followed by Mr. Domagoso (8%), Senator and boxing champion Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao (6%), Mr. Lacson (2%), businessman Faisal Mangondato (1%), former Cabinet official Ernesto C. Abella (0.1%), cardiologist Jose C. Montemayor, Jr. (0.05%) and labor leader Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman (0.02%). Mr. Gonzales got zero.

Meanwhile, opposition group Kabataan Party-list said it was sickening to watch nonadministration candidates ganging up against the opposition frontrunner instead of preventing the return of the Marcoses to the presidential palace.

In a statement, the group said Ms. Robredo would get the most opposition votes for taking a stand against the Marcoses. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza