'It's your obligation to pay': Isko tells Imee paying tax 'nothing to do with politics'

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 01 2022 09:25 PM

SAN JOSE, Occidental Mindoro - Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate Isko Moreno Domagoso on Friday said his party's push for the Marcos family to pay their P203-billion estate tax has nothing to do with politics even if a sibling of presidential race frontrunner and former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. says otherwise.

Domagoso gave the statement after Sen. Imee Marcos, Marcos Jr.'s sister, claimed that their family's tax issue resurfaced after decades due to "defamation from rotten politics."

"It has nothing to do with politics. This is just our obligation," Domagoso told reporters on the sidelines of his sortie here.

"Obligasyon ng bawat mamamayan yun, lalo na kung ikaw ay tatakbo sa public office," he said.

(That's the obligation of every citizen, especially if you are running for public office.)

The issue stems from a 1997 Supreme Court ruling that ordered the Marcos family to settle some P23 billion in estate taxes, but the amount has ballooned to P203 billion after the former first family of the Philippines failed to pay their dues for decades.

One of Marcos' lawyers earlier admitted that they have to pay P23 billion even if they are still contesting the P180-billion worth of penalties and surcharges, Domagoso said.

"Kung talagang mabuti kang tao, babayaran mo yung buwis," he said.

"Sila na yung may sabi, umamin na naman sila. Buti hindi ako fake news."

(You will pay your taxes if you really are a good person. They admitted it themselves. At least I'm not spreading fake news.)

Sen. Marcos also questioned the timing of raising the tax issue, but Domagoso said that the scions of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had nearly 3 decades to end the issue.

"It is already there for [about] 30 years, ayaw lang nila sundin ang batas (they just don't want to follow the law)," the Manila mayor said.

"Siguro sikat sila, pinagpala silang pamilya, siguro makapangyarihan silang pamilya kaya sa iyo 'yung batas applicable, sa kanila hindi applicable," he said.

(Maybe they think they are popular, they come from a blessed family, a powerful family, that's why the law is applicable to you but not to them.)

Domagoso has been pushing to use the Marcos' estate tax to fund the national government's aid package for public utility drivers and farmers who are hit with the rising prices of oil in the Philippines.

Sen. Marcos said her family would not ditch their liability. 

"Medyo hilo na kami sa tax-tax issue na 'yan pero ang masasabi ko, kung may utang sa gobyerno, kailangan bayaran," she said.

"Kami sa pamilya namin, lahat ng kaso namin, hinarap namin. Hinaharap pa rin dahil marami pa no at itong issue na estate tax, matagal na to eh."
 
(We are a bit dizzy with that tax-tax issue, but all I can say is if there is a debt to the government, that should be paid. Our family faced all the cases against us. We are still facing these because there are a lot and this issue on estate tax has been prolonged.) 

The senator claimed that her family could not settle their unpaid dues as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has yet to give them "the full document to discuss it once and for all."

The BIR said otherwise, noting that the agency, through a written demand, has asked the Marcos family to settle their tax debt.