MANILA (UPDATE) — A former commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) said Monday that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) should file a criminal case against the Marcos family if they don’t address their estate tax liability worth P203 billion.
“Ang dapat mangyari diyan, ang mga Marcos mismo walang ginawa, ayaw magbayad, pwedeng kasuhan ng kriminal na yan ng BIR,” former PCGG commissioner Ruben Carranza said in an ABS-CBN TeleRadyo interview.
(The Marcoses didn’t do anything or pay their liabilities. The BIR should file a criminal case against them.)
Carranza belied claims made by the camp of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, particularly his spokesperson, that the estate tax issue is still pending in court and that the case is “all about politics.”
He cited Supreme Court decisions in 1997 and 2003 as the basis of the estate tax issue against Marcos, both of which, according to him, are considered final and executory.
In 2003, Carranza said, the high court ruled that assets owned by the Marcoses that are more than their total legal income of $304,000, was considered “ill-gotten wealth.”
At the time, the PCGG had already recovered $680 million. Of the amount, $200 million was allotted for reparation of 11,000 Martial Law victims, while the rest was allotted to agrarian reform.
The Supreme Court had also ruled in 1997 that the Marcoses had an excise tax assessment of P23 billion.
“May mga umiikot na hindi naman daw si Marcos Jr. ang kailangang magbayad. Ang dapat magbayad, si Marcos Jr. at si Imelda Marcos dahil co-administrators sila ng estado ni Ferdinand Marcos Sr.,” Carranza said.
(There are stories circulating that Marcos Jr. isn’t the one obliged to pay. But Marcos Jr. and Imelda Marcos must pay because they are co-administrators of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s estate.)
WHAT CAN THE BIR DO?
“Dalawa ‘yung general power ng BIR. One is to, of course, collect taxes. And the other is to enforce the law on people who do not pay their taxes… Pwede ka ngang mag-negotiate sa BIR doon sa babayaran. Pwede kang humingi ng amnesty sa BIR. Pero ibang klase ang mga Marcos. They're pretending that they have no tax liability at all. Ang claim nila na under litigation pa tong mga ari-arian nila, which is not true,” said Carranza.
(The BIR has two general powers. One is to, of course, collect taxes. And the other is to enforce the law on people who do not pay their taxes… You can even negotiate with BIR about your dues; you can even ask them for amnesty. But the Marcoses are quite different. They’re pretending that they have no tax liability at all. Their claim is that their properties are still under litigation, which is not true.)
“Supreme Court decisions are part of the law of the land, which the executive has to enforce and respect. Ayaw respetuhin ni Marcos Jr. ang batas, ayaw respetuhin ni Marcos Jr. ang Supreme Court decision, anong klaseng kandidato yan?” he added.
(Supreme Court decisions are part of the law of the land, which the executive branch has to enforce and respect. Marcos Jr. doesn’t respect the law and the Supreme Court decisions. What kind of candidate is he?)
Marcos Jr., 64, is running for president in the May elections.
Carranza urged the BIR to file the criminal case, as Marcos Jr. may do away with his tax liabilities if he wins in the presidential race.
“May urgency ang pag-file ng criminal case dahil kapag naging presidente si Marcos Jr., mas mayroon siyang kapangyarihan na mas patagalin pa yung kaso, at gamitin yung poder ng pagiging presidente para huwag nang bayaran yung utang niya sa Pilipinas,” Carranza said.
(There’s an urgency to file a criminal case because if Marcos Jr. is elected president, he has more power to delay the case, and he can use the power of the presidency to avoid paying his debts to the Philippines.)
Former BIR Commissioner Kim Henares had also raised the possibility that because of the presidential immunity from suit, filing a case against Marcos Jr. if he is elected to the country's highest post may not happen during his six years in office.
Carranza criticized the Marcoses for delaying their tax case and then refusing to acknowledge decisions when the courts ruled against their favor.
“Itong tax case, pinatagal yan ng mga Marcos… Kung ano-anong mga argumento ang ginamit. Pagkatapos, noong natalo na sila, ayaw naman sumunod doon sa kaso na sila mismo ang nag-file,” he said.
(The Marcoses delayed their tax case using numerous arguments. And when they lost, they refused to abide by the decision of the cases that they themselves filed.)
Carranza noted that it was only with the Marcoses that Switzerland froze bank accounts for the first time in history.
“Thirty-six years ago this week, nag-freeze ang Switzerland sa mga bank accounts ng mga Marcos. It was the first time in history that they did this. The only time na muntik nang mag-freeze ang Switzerland… bank accounts pa ni (Adolf) Hitler at ng mga Nazis. Hindi pa nga nila tinuloy. So mas masahol pa yata ang mga Marcos kaysa kay Hitler dahil tinuluyan ng Switzerland ang pag-freeze ng mga bank accounts ni Marcos,” he said.
(Thirty-six years ago this week, Switzerland froze the Marcoses’ bank accounts. It was the first time in history that they did this. The only time Switzerland almost froze bank accounts was with Hitler and the Nazis, but they didn’t even push through with it. So it seems that the Marcoses are worse than Hitler because Switzerland really froze their accounts.)
He slammed the pro-Marcos “propaganda” floating online.
“Malaki ang nagagawa ng mga nakaw na yaman. Maraming nababayaran sa nakaw na yaman. At mas mura na ngayon magkalat ng kasinungalingan dahil mayroon ng social media,” Carranza said.
(Stolen wealth can do a lot and pay for a lot. And it is now a lot cheaper to spread lies because of social media.)
“Ang mga Marcos, they are not above the law. Now is the time to show that,” he said.
Carranza was commissioner of the PCGG from 2001 to 2004, during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He had also earlier accused Marcos Jr. of hiding the wealth his family unlawfully acquired during the presidency of the former senator’s father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.
The Marcos camp has no immediate reply to the latest statements of Carranza.
Some of Marcos' rivals in the May elections have also brought up his family's estate tax liabilities.