Short in funding, Duterte asks BIR why estate tax had not been collected yet
MANILA, Philippines — No less than President Rodrigo Duterte has called out the Bureau of Internal Revenue for its alleged failure to collect estate taxes, which he said could have helped the cash-strapped government bankroll some of its programs.
In his regular public address, Duterte was discussing why he did not order the suspension of e-sabong operations in light of the disappearances of some 31 cockfighting aficionados.
Duterte claimed that government was generating a revenue of about P640 million a month from online cockfighting, an amount that it would not have been able to derive anywhere else, except maybe if it collected estate taxes.
“Ako, baka nagdududa kayo bakit hindi ko hininto. Hindi ko ho hininto kasi kailangan ng pera sa e-sabong ng gobyerno. I’ll make it public now, it’s 640 million (pesos) a month. And in a year’s time, it’s billion plus. Saan tayo maghanap ng pera ng ganoon na kadali na siguro?” he said.
(You might be wondering why I did not order to suspend (e-sabong). I did not because government needs the money from e-sabong… Where are we going to get such a huge amount so easily?)
“Sa taxation natin, so ang gobyerno can only prod. Hindi naman kailangan ng reminder sa Malacañang. Nandiyan ‘yung BIR so tanungin natin ‘yang BIR bakit hanggang ngayon hindi nakolekta ‘yung estate tax,” he added.
(In our taxation system, the government can only prod. Malacañang need not be reminded. The BIR is there, so let’s ask the BIR why it has not collected the estate tax.)
The issue on estate tax came about after several groups, including retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue to collect the multibillion tax deficiency of the Marcoses.
In response, the BIR said that it has already sent a written demand in December 2021 to the family of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — chief administrator of the estate of his father and namesake, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. — to pay their estate tax liability that had ballooned to P203 billion.
The failure of the Marcoses to pay their estate tax has been dogging Marcos Jr.’s campaign, with his lawyer claiming that the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the matter with finality, and that this only surfaced to derail his presidential bid.
The Marcos heir further dismissed the BIR claims, saying “there’s a lot of fake news involved” in his family’s unpaid taxes and illegally acquired assets despite amply verified pieces of evidence, as well as numerous court convictions and decisions.
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