President Rodrigo Roa Duterte should ask ex-senator and now presidential bet Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Junior to pay the 328 billion pesos estate taxes he owes government before endorsing him as Duterte’s administration candidate.
Ric Rivera, the founder of PASADA a commuter and transport workers’ group, says such a huge amount of money would adequately fund the economic stimulus packages for the distressed transport industry reeling from high oil prices and previous route restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
Rivera adds it is the duty of Mr. Duterte to enforce the law especially now that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued a demand letter or notice to the heirs of the estate of former president Ferdinand Marcos Senior.
” It is incumbent upon the President to do what is Right: collect those taxes now. Mr. Duterte has earned the reputation of being a strickler for the law. In the early days of his administration, Mr. Duterte called upon those big businessmen with humonguous unpaid taxes to pay up and that includes former Marcos’ crony Lucio Tan and others. It would harm Mr. Duterte’s record and reputation if he applies preferential treatment to the Marcoses,” says Rivera.
An estate tax is levied upon survivors of a deceased who left earthly possessions deemed an “estate”. Philippine tax laws put estate taxes at six percent (6%) of the net value of the estate, which includes tangible and intangible assets. Government figures show that the Marcoses reportedly amassed US$30 billion.
Former first lady Imelda Marcos also claimed in her interview in an international film entitled “The Kingmaker” that her family keeps 167 bank accounts in different parts of the world. Marcos also said her former husband bought majority stocks in local and foreign firms before he died.
Rivera says these claims are ought to be examined by the Presidential Commission on Good Government or PCGG, a constitutional body formed thru the 1987 Constitution.
” Such huge sums of monies should be collected and distributed to the people especially at this time when the economy is at a slump and people are going hungry by the minute due to rising costs of goods and services.
” Mr. Marcos junior always promises to his audiences that he will give them tons of coffee, tons of gold, and tons of other promises if voters elect him as their president. He does not need to go anywhere– he just needs to go to the Bureau of Internal Revenue offices in Quezon City, bring those monies that they owe our government, and pay up. That’s as simple as drinking a nice hot coffee in the morning.”
The unpaid estate taxes now amounting to 328 billion according to Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Isko Moreno, is equivalent to the annual budget of a government department, even more. Many experts say that money may lower pump prices of oil, fund sectoral economic stimulus programs by the DOLE and other agencies, and may actually revive the sagging financial status of the transport sector.
Mr. Duterte told the public in a news conference that the government is struggling for funds to help sectors affected by oil price hikes and the resultant effects of the restrictions due to the pandemic. The plan of the government to raise the financial assistance for poor families to a decent level went bonkers as the finance department only came up with 500 pesos for every family. Many sectors dismissed the financial ayuda as a “gimmick” even a direct slap to the Filipino People.
” With the government admitting that it does not have the funds, this is the right time for Mr. Duterte to use his friendship with the Marcos family and enforce the demand from the BIR. Mr. President, before you even consider endorsing Mr. Marcos Junior, make him pay up first,” Rivera adds.
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos junior is the scion of the Marcos political family. He is the only son of the late Ferdinand senior who served as Philippine president from 1965 to 1986, when he was ousted thru a popular revolt. He died in Hawaii. His corpse was brought back to the Philippines where it stayed in a refrigerated crypt for many years before it was finally put to rest in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ cemetery) despite public uproar.
Records show that Ferdinand Marcos junior or popularly known as “Bongbong” serves as the administrator of the family’s estate, despite being the second child. At age 64, Bongbong Marcos is gunning for a Marcosian comeback on the heels of a failed vice-presidential bid in 2016.
Many analysts believe Bongbong is out to vindicate the family name tarnished during the tumultuous regime of his deceased father. During the Marcos years, the Philippines plunged into its worst economic performance among all ASEAN countries. More than 16,000 persons were either summarily executed or died in prison camps, mostly members of the political opposition who fought for more than fourteen years against the hated Marcos regime.
Thousands of brilliant young minds and professionals also left the Philippines, as inflation ballooned, the peso weakened, and businesses shut down. Job opportunity losses tallied in the millions, as industries suffered during an economic blight that saw many businesses either shutting down or gobbled up by Marcos cronies. It is at this time that the Marcoses claimed to have steadily amassed assets and stocks.
The Philippine business community had already expressed their disgust over the candidacy of Marcos junior and had even bravely told the government that most local and foreign investors may assume a “wait-and-see” attitude if Marcos junior wins the presidency this May 9.