Senate to probe P203-B Marcos estate tax debts
ROMBLON, Romblon, Philippines — The Senate investigation of the P203-billion estate tax liabilities of the Marcos family will start this week, should any of the senators and the concerned committee press the issue, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Monday.
Sotto said he would confer with Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, sponsor of the resolution seeking an inquiry into the Marcos estate tax debts, to discuss which committee will handle the matter, with half of the 24 senators set to end their term by June 30.
“[The investigation can start] anytime, as there are still 12 of them who are not running in the elections,” adding that this can be handled either by the committee on finance, on ways and means, or the Senate blue ribbon committee.
BIR failure to collect
Sotto said Senate Resolution No. 998, would direct the concerned Senate committee to probe the alleged failure of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to collect the taxes due on the estate of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos since 1997.
It also sought to identify the BIR officials, whether past or present, responsible for the noncollection of the estate.
According to Sotto, any concerned committee with related pending bills may also call for the inquiry, not necessarily acting on the Pimentel resolution.
Asked when the Senate can start with the inquiry, Sotto said the committee could convene “in a matter of three or four days from [Monday], if they so desire.”
Sotto, who is running for vice president alongside Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, said the possible public uproar from the probe might “cut both ways” for the personalities involved, mainly presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Lacson to inhibit
“It may be detrimental for some people, because also, it may turn out to be a favor because of the media mileage,” he said.
In a Viber message, Pimentel agreed with Sotto, saying the investigation will commence “soonest.”
Lacson, however, said on Monday that he would inhibit himself from the Senate investigation of the estate tax liability of the Marcoses since the issue involves a fellow contender.
“I will have to inhibit because the one involved in the issue is a presidential candidate,” Lacson told reporters.
Lacson nevertheless said the uncollected tax liability was of national interest.
“Their taxes have to be paid,” Sen. Richard Gordon said as he stressed the need for the “public to know” about the Marcos family’s unsettled estate tax obligations.
“It’s got nothing to do with timing. The public has the right to know. Their taxes have to be paid, taxes have to be exacted and the government has to enforce the law otherwise, people will stop paying taxes,” Gordon said in an ANC interview on Monday.
Pimentel earlier pushed for a Senate probe of BIR’s supposed failure to collect the estate tax liability of the Marcoses estimated at P203 billion.
The BIR earlier confirmed sending a written demand to the Marcos family in December 2021 to pay their estate tax liability after the party of presidential candidate Manila Mayor Franciso Domagoso called for its urgent settlement.
—WITH A REPORT FROM CHRISTIA MARIE RAMOS
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