BIR should impose payment of taxes, file criminal raps vs Marcoses — Carpio
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) should now file a criminal case against the Marcos family over their “willfull refusal” to pay their estate tax liability worth P203 billion, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Thursday.
“The BIR, if it wants to now, it can file a criminal case. And I think it’s time because it’s almost 25 years. Almost a quarter of a century they have not paid the tax. Ano pang iniintay ng BIR? File-an na nila ng criminal case [What is the BIR waiting for? File a case]. That’s the last thing that they can do. They should now file a criminal case,” Carpio said in an 1Sambayan forum.
Carpio said that as co-administrators of the Marcos estate, presidential candidate former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and former first lady Imelda Marcos “are legally and primarily mandated by law to pay the estate tax before any heir, including themselves, can receive a single centavo from the Marcos estate.”
Citing the country’s Tax Code, he said “any person required…to pay any tax liability” but “willfully fails to pay such tax shall in addition to other penalties provided by law upon conviction thereof be punished by a fine of not less than P10,000 and suffer imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than 10 years.”
“In short, Marcos Jr. and Imelda Marcos can be charged criminally by the BIR and the DOJ (Department of Justice) under Section 255 of Tax Code for willful refusal to pay the estate tax of the Marcos estate,” he said.
“The refusal to pay the estate tax is willful because almost a quarter of a century since the estate tax was declared final and executory by the Supreme Court and still Marcos Jr. and Imelda Marcos have refused to pay a single centavo of the tax which now has ballooned to P203 billion due to interest,” Carpio added.
Earlier, the BIR confirmed sending a written demand to the Marcos family in December 2021 to pay their estate tax liability. However, Carpio said the BIR “cannot collect the tax by just sending demand letters because 25 years have passed.
“Walang nangyari [Nothing happened]. It’s time to enforce it by a criminal case. That’s the last step. We are now at the last step 25 years na e,” he added.
INQUIRER.net has reached out to Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Marcos Jr.’s spokesperson, for comment on Carpio’s statements but has yet to receive a response as of writing.
Earlier, Rodriguez said the estimated P200 billion estate tax of the Marcos family remains unsettled since the properties linked to the case are still under litigation, noting that even BIR and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) “have arrived at an agreement for the BIR to wait for the decision on the said case before any collection.”
But the PCGG, for its part, said the BIR “already executed its final assessment” on the involved properties as early as 1993 and that “as early as 1997, the judgment on the tax case had become final and executory.”
RELATED STORY: Marcos Jr. claims ‘fake news involved’ in ill-gotten wealth, estate tax cases
Former BIR commissioner Kim Henares, who also attended the forum, meanwhile raised the possibility of not being able to file a case against Marcos’ son if he wins the presidency.
Under the 1987 Constitution, a sitting president is immune from any suit. Carpio agreed, stressing the need to file a case now.
“It can still be done now, he’s not president of the country, he has no immunity yet but if he becomes president, we can’t sue him,” he added.
Carpio also warned that if Marcos wins the 2022 polls, this unpaid tax liability can set an example to Filipinos.
“If you are president of the country, you have to set an example in terms of taxation because the government cannot run without taxes. You cannot fix the roads, you cannot pay the salaries of employees of the soldiers or the teachers unless you collect taxes,” the retired justice said.
“You must set an example to the citizens. Pay your taxes. But if you yourself, you owe the government P203 billion and counting, sasabihin nila ‘E bakit yung presidente natin hindi nagbabayad ng buwis, bakit tayo lang?’” he added.
Carpio is the lead convenor of election coalition 1Sambayan, which is endorsing the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Prexy bets’ supporters storm BIR
Meanwhile, a number of supporters of certain presidential candidates stormed the central office of BIR on Thursday, prodding the agency to make the Marcos family pay up its estate tax liability.
Supporters of presidential aspirants Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, along with group Bayan Muna and other sectoral groups staged a protest action at the BIR in Manila.
INQUIRER.net has also asked Rodriguez about the matter for comment but has yet to receive a response as of writing.
Actress Vivian Velez, the lead convenor of a coalition which is pushing for the tandem of Moreno and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Duterte, said she is worried that the country could kiss goodbye the tax liabilities of Marcoses once Marcos Jr. wins the presidency.
“I am just worried that because he is a front runner, if in case he wins, will the P203 billion be repaid? That is a big concern,” Velez said in a Radyo Inquirer interview.
“He (Marcos) said that is all fake news and this is all propaganda, so there is a denial, that means he does not want to pay,” she added.
Julits Velasco, convenor of youth group Tindig Kabataan, said the group is “frustrated” with the situation, noting that the tax dues could instead be used to provide financial assistance to poor Filipinos.
Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Tim Orbos, for his part, said he believes that paying taxes “is the most basic manifestation of the love of country.”
“This is an issue that cuts across all parties, we just want what is supposed to be done,” Orbos told Radyo Inquirer in an interview.
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