BIR wants to freeze Iggy's bank assets

by Henry Omaga-Diaz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2012 09:37 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2012 07:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) wants the bank deposits of the late Rep. Iggy Arroyo frozen while the agency determines the true value of his estate.

Under the law, the heirs of a deceased individual must pay an estate tax based on the value of properties and bank deposits within 6 months of death.

Senator Panfilo Lacson had claimed that brothers Mike and Iggy Arroyo have billions of pesos in deposits in different banks.

"We have sent letters to five banks, we are awaiting for their reply. In the meantime we have instructed them not to entertain any transactions under his account," BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said.

Attorney Ferdinand Topacio, spokesperson for the Arroyo family, dismissed the BIR's move, pointing out there are a few weeks left before the deadline.

Arroyo passed away in London on January 26 this year.

"Hindi pa naman tapos ang 6 months," Topoacio said.

Grace Ibuna is the beneficiary of Iggy's estate, while the late lawmaker's daughter with his first wife is the estate administrator.

The BIR also needs the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth of the the late congressman.

Henares said they requested the document more than a month ago from the lower House but have yet to get a response.

Arroyo's daughter, Dina Arroyo Tantoco, said in a press statement Wednesday that his father has no secret bank accounts.

"We will  be filing and taking the proper action when the deadline comes. Right now, we are still working to gather information on his assets. It is a hard time for us as we are still grieving the loss of someone so dear to us," she said.

"It is not true that he has secret accounts. But he is already deceased. Hindi na po nya masasagot ang mga bago na namang akusasyon sa kanya. Ang hiling ko lang ay tigilan na nila ang pamilya namin lalo na ang aking ama," she added.

"Patay na po sya. Maawa naman po sila," she said.  - ANC