A RIVAL political party has asked the Supreme Court to issue a “certificate of finality” on a decades-old lawsuit that upheld the government’s estate and income tax assessments on the heirs of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
In a letter to the tribunal’s deputy clerk of court, Aksyon Demokratiko Chairman Ernesto M. Ramel, Jr. sought the certificate to establish that the case had long been resolved and could now be enforced, contrary to the claim of the Marcos family.
“The purpose of the requested certificate of finality is to establish the above cited case is in fact final and executory and had been entered in the book of judgments,” he said. Aksyon Demokratiko is the party of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” M. Domagoso, who is running for president this year.
He cited a March 3 statement by Victor D. Rodriguez, lawyer of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. that the tax case had not been resolved with finality. The dictator’s namesake and only son is the top contender for president, based on various opinion polls.
Mr. Rodriguez did not immediately reply to a Viber message seeking comment.
Mr. Ramel earlier said the P23-billion estate tax had ballooned to P203.8 billion due to interests and penalties after the Marcos family refused to pay it.
He separately asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) this month to clarify whether the Marcos heirs had paid the taxes.
Mr. Marcos on March 16 cited “fake news” surrounding their unsettled estate taxes. “Let’s leave it to the lawyers to discuss it because the so-called facts that they quote are not facts at all,” he told a news briefing. “Whatever the court orders me to do, I will do.”
This contradicted what the tax agency and PCGG said in reply to Aksyon Demokratiko.
“The Bureau of Internal Revenue did send a written demand letter to the Marcos heirs on Dec. 2, 2021 regarding their tax liabilities,” Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said in a letter to Aksyon Demokratiko on March 14.
PCGG, the agency tasked to recover ill-gotten wealth of the dictator and his cronies, in a separate letter said the tax agency in 1991 assessed the estate of Ferdinand Marcos P23.29 billion in estate taxes, P184.16 million in unpaid income taxes of Mr. Marcos and his wife Imelda for 1985 and 1986 and P20,410 in unpaid income taxes against the dictator for 1982 to 1985.
In 1993, BIR levied and sold 11 Marcos properties in Tacloban after the family failed to file an administrative protest. The lots were awarded to the state in the absence of bidders, PCGG said.
The Supreme Court in 1997 denied a plea by Marcos, Jr. to void the levies as it ruled the tax assessments had become final and unappealable.
Mr. Ramel in a separate statement warned that the debt could get erased if the tax agency fails to collect the tax by June 30, in case Mr. Marcos wins the election.
“The P203 billion that belongs to the Filipino people will disappear like a bubble if Marcos, Jr. lucks out,” he said in Filipino.
Mr. Ramel on Sunday slammed Mr. Marcos’s spokesman for saying that his rivals were using the tax issue to score political points for the May 9 elections.
Meanwhile, opposition coalition 1Sambayan said Mr. Rodriguez’s claim last week that the Marcos family’s estate tax liability is still pending in court is “the worst kind of propaganda.”
“With all due respect to Mr. Rodriguez, there is no pending case,” it said in a statement. “Alleging that the case is still pending without specifying the actual case details sounds like fake news and — if it turns out to be untrue — the worst kind of black propaganda.”
It said Filipinos could not afford to have a president who had been convicted for tax evasion.
The dictator stole as much as $10 billion (P521 billion) from the Filipino people, according to government estimates, earning him a Guinness World Record for the “greatest robbery of a government.” PCGG has recovered about P171 billion.
Mr. Domagoso earlier vowed to use the tax payment to help drivers, farmers and jobless Filipinos if he becomes president. — Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza