MANILA - The camp of presidential hopeful Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday claimed that his family's unpaid estate tax liability that has ballooned to more than P203 billion is still pending in court.
Marcos Jr.'s spokesman Atty. Vic Rodriguez claimed in a statement that the case is "all about politics."
"Our rivals are misdirecting everyone by claiming that the case has attained finality when the truth of the matter is, it is still pending in court and the ownership of the properties in litigation has yet to be settled," Rodriguez alleged.
Retired Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, however, has said that the high court ruling in 1997 which affirmed a Court of Appeals decision on the Marcos estate tax of P23 billion is already final and executory.
Since then, the amount that the family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos owes to the government has risen to more than P203 billion, inclusive of interest.
Carpio said the Marcoses have dragged the issue in court, even filing motions for reconsideration at the Supreme Court even though these motions were no longer allowed by law.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has confirmed that it sent to Marcos family a written demand to settle their estate tax liabilities.
The BIR has since attached 11 sets of properties and imposed interest, according to former BIR chief Kim Henares.
The obligation to pay the estate taxes falls on legal heirs, represented in this case by the co-administrators of the estate, the late dictator's son and namesake or Marcos Sr.'s wife, Imelda.
Marcos Jr.'s spokesman also claimed on Saturday that "the fair and just tax base to be used in computing the estate tax cannot yet be established with certainty."
Henares earlier told ANC the Marcoses should have contested the amount of their estate tax liability when the high court came up with its decision.
"They had 30 days I believe to have appealed it. If they have not, it’s now final and executory," she said.
Carpio and Henares also debunked claims the estate tax is some sort of admission or recognition by government that the Marcoses’ wealth is not ill- gotten.
They said that the estate tax does not distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate sources of income. They added that the payment of taxes does not absolve the taxpayer of any crimes they may have committed.
They noted that the estate tax was assessed on properties of the Marcoses that had not yet been sequestered by government.