Presidential rivals agree: Gov't must go after Marcos estate taxes

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2022 11:04 PM

MANILA - Several presidential candidates on Saturday found a common ground in pressing the Philippine government to collect the estate tax liabilities of the family of their rival Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso opened the topic during the first presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections, saying he would go after the Marcos family's unpaid P203-billion taxes and use it as cash aid for sectors hit by rising prices. 

"Kung aatras ko ang buwis sa krudo at kuryente, we are going to lose P65 billion... P203 billion minus P65 [billion], mayroon pa akong daang-daang bilyon na maaari nating maibigay sa tao," he said.

(If I reduce taxes on oil and electricity, we are going to lose P65 billion... P203 billion minus P65 billion, we will still have hundreds of billions left that we can give to the poor.)

"It's a matter of fiscal management lamang at certainty of law," he said.

Partido Reporma presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo Lacson agreed with Domagoso, saying that the Marcos family's liabilities were double the tax collections under 2 packages of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

"Alam niyo ‘yung pinasa naming mga tax packages, ang dami noon e. Ang na-attain lamang P101 billion," Lacson said.

(We passed a lot of tax packages. We only attained P101 billion.)

"E mayroong P203-billion nga na sisingilin lamang nandiyan na, bakit ayaw singilin ng BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue)?" he said.

(We have P203 billion pending, why can't the BIR collect it?)

Vice President Leni Robredo chimed in, saying the government can use the tax debt to improve aid packages for indigent sectors.

"Kapag nasingil natin ito [utang], hindi na natin kailangan tipirin ang ating mga kababayan," she said.

(If we can collect this debt, we no longer need to shortchange our countrymen.)

Presidential candidate and labor leader Leody De Guzman agreed, saying, "Kailangang kunin ‘yung P203 billion na ‘yun."

(That P203 billion should be collected.) 

Earlier this week, Domagoso's party shared to reporters a copy of a letter from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, in which it confirmed sending the Marcos family a written demand on their tax liabilities. 

The Marcos camp has not addressed the development. 

Marcos skipped Saturday's PiliPinas debates, saying it was better for him to campaign on the ground. 

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