Padilla describes as pests those saying extension of estate tax amnesty benefits Marcoses
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Robin Padilla on Friday called out the “pests” who were accusing lawmakers allied with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of pushing for another extension in the availment period of estate tax amnesty to the benefit of the chief executive’s family.
Padilla asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to clarify if the proposed measure delaying the deadline to avail of estate tax amnesty for another two years will work in the Marcoses’ favor.
In 1997, the Supreme Court had ordered the family of Marcos’ late father and namesake Ferdinand Marcos Sr. owed P23 billion in estate tax. This is estimated to have swelled to over P203 billion due to penalties and surcharges.
“Nasagot na ito ng BIR pero hindi tinitigilan ng mga matatawag nating peste. Mga peste. Maraming peste eh. Iyong mga peste, sinasabi nila na kaya natin ito isinusulong at kaya rin niyo isinusulong itong extension muli ng estate tax amnesty dahil may kinalaman po ito sa utang ng Pangulong Marcos,” Padilla said during a Senate ways and means committee hearing.
(This was answered by the BIR before but the so-called pests keep bothering us. These pests. There are a lot of pests. These pests are saying that the reason why we are pushing for this and why you are also pushing for the extension of the estate tax amnesty is because of President Marcos’ tax debt.)
Padilla said he and panel chair Senator Sherwin Gatchalian have been crucified for supposedly using the bill to dig a way out for the Marcos family’s estate tax liability.
“Gusto kong sagutin niyo ito na hindi namin ginagawa ito dahil kaming dalawa ng aking idol – ang [Albert] Einstein ng Senado – ay UniTeam…Pwede bang malinawan natin lahat para malinaw na kaming dalawa o tatlong senador dito ay hindi gumagawa ng paraan para malibre ang ating mahal na Pangulo,” he argued.
(I want you to answer that we are not doing this because the two of us – my idol, the Albert Einstein of the Senate, and I – are part of the UniTeam…Can we clarify this for everyone so it’s clear that the two or three senators here are not just making a way to exempt our beloved President.)
UniTeam was the alliance led by the tandem of then-candidates Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte during the 2022 elections.
Gatchalian and Padilla ran and succeeded in their senatorial bid under the UniTeam’s wing.
The other lawmaker who was present in the committee hearing, albeit virtually, was Senator Nancy Binay. Binay did not run for senator last year and, therefore, is not part of the UniTeam slate.
BIR: ‘It depends’
BIR Legal Service Assistant Commissioner Larry Barcelo said the proposed measure has the same restrictions, limitations, and basis for availment of estate tax amnesty as stated in the Republic Act 11213, or the Tax Amnesty Act, and Republic Act 11569, or the Act Extending the Estate Tax Amnesty.
But Padilla wants a straightforward answer.
“Isang sagot lang para maintindihan ng taumbayan. Isang diretso lang kasi kung papabasa lang natin sa taumbayan iyong maaaprub na batas, baka 65 na kami bago kami [matapos],” the senator said.
(Just give me one answer so the public can understand. One straightforward answer because if we ask them to read the approved law, we might be 65 when we finish.)
Gatchalian quipped that Barcelo was exhibiting what it means to be a good lawyer – one that tiptoes around the answer.
“It will depend on what would be the final version of the bill and what would be the content of the bill – the restrictions and limitations – and what would be the application of the applicant based on this bill. Then, we will evaluate kung entitled ba siya o hindi (if he is entitled or not),” Barcelo explained.
Asked to use as basis for his answer the proposed measure that emanated from the House of Representatives, Barcelo said there is a provision in the bill adopting Section 9 of the Tax Amnesty Act, which says that estate tax amnesty “shall not extend to estate tax cases which have become final and executory.”
“If that will be carried out under the present law then, that will be the restriction of the application but, of course, the taxpayer can always file [an application for tax amnesty] if he thinks that, under the present law, he will be entitled to the provision,” he said partly in Filipino.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government has said that the BIR “already executed its final assessment” on the Marcoses’ estate tax in question as early as 1993.
The judgment on the estate tax case against the political clan was made final and executory as early as 1997, it added.