Henares: BIR can sue other heirs over estate tax if Marcos Jr. wins presidency

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2022 09:39 PM

Former first lady Imelda Marcos ABS-CBN News/File
Former first lady Imelda Marcos and family pose for pictures with supporters during the hosting of her 90th birthday by the Friends of Imelda Romualdez Marcos (FIRM) held at the Rizal Park Open Air Auditorium in Manila on July 1, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Criminal charges can still be filed against the Marcos family over their unpaid estate tax dues even if Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wins the presidency, former Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares said Thursday. 

In an interview with ABS-CBN TeleRadyo, Henares said that aside from Marcos Jr., other co-administrators of the Marcos estate can be sued for failing to pay their P203-billion estate tax debt over the past two decades.

“Sakali kung maging presidente si [Marcos Jr.], may immunity from suit ho ‘yong president. Hindi mo pwedeng demandahin, pero pag tiningnan mo ‘yong batas, marami ho kayong pwedeng demandahin… ‘Yong other co-administrators ng estate, maliban kay [Marcos Jr.], puwede ‘yong ibang tao, kung gusto nyo ho. Puwedeng kasuhan,” Henares said.

[If Marcos Jr. wins the presidency, he has immunity from suits. You can’t file cases against him. But if you look at the law, you can sue other people, like the co-administrators of the estate.]

Aside from Marcos Jr., his mother Imelda is the other known co-administrator of the estate left by the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.

If Marcos Jr. is elected president, Henares said charges can be filed against him 6 years later after his administration.

“Anim na taon lang ‘yan eh. After 6 years, what will happen? After 6 years, wala na [siyang] immunity. Like I said, hindi lang naman siya ang puwedeng maging respondent. Kasi sa batas, may responsibilidad ho ang other administrators and other heirs," she said.

[That's just 6 years. After 6 years, what will happen? After 6 years, he won't have immunity. Like I said, he's not the only possible respondent. Under the law, other co-administrators and other heirs also have responsibility.] 

Former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) commissioner Ruben Carranza on Monday suggested that the BIR file criminal charges against Marcos Jr. over the estate tax issue.

However, Henares told ABS-CBN TeleRadyo on Thursday that if ever BIR considers the option, there must be proof of “willfulness” or that the Marcoses deliberately avoided paying their dues.

“Doon ho ngayon nagkakaroon ng problema sa pagpo-prove ng willfulness… How do you prove willfulness? Maybe the proof of willfulness of failure to pay is the length of time na kinokolektahan ninyo, ayaw ninyo bayaran,” she said.

(We will have a problem in proving willfulness. How do you prove willfulness? Maybe the proof of willfulness of failure to pay is the length of time that you’re collecting taxes from them and they do not pay.)

Henares also explained the computation of how the Marcoses’ estate tax dues ballooned from P23 billion in 1997 to P203 billion in 2021. 

“So [from] P23.3 billion, you have to put in a 25 percent surcharge. That’s the law. Then 14 percent for three years kasi nasa batas yan. So lalabas ‘yan, P38 billion as of 1999. From 38 billion, you will now compute 20 percent interest from March 3, 1999 up to December 31, 2018. Then from January 1, 2018 hanggang ngayon o hanggang kailan niya babayaran, 12 percent interest,” she said.

On Wednesday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez confirmed that the BIR, through present commissioner Caesar Dulay, is “collecting and demanded payment from the Marcos Estate Administrators.”


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