MANILA (UPDATE) — Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has called on the Senate to look into the Bureau of Internal Revenue's (BIR) failure to collect the estate tax debt of the family of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
In a resolution, Pimentel said there was an "urgent and pressing need for the Senate" to look into why the government has failed to collect the Marcos family's P203-billion estate tax liabilities.
Pimentel said the debt payment can be used by the government to fund its proposed subsidies for sectors affected by the rising prices of petroleum products.
"There is no clear funding source for these proposed subsidies and it is immediately obvious that the government would be hard-pressed to source the much-needed funds in order to support these social alleviation measures," Pimentel said.
He was referring to the government's plan to give P200 per month to poor Filipino families for an entire year as well as the labor department's proposed P24 billion subsidy for minimum wage earners.
"The payment of the estate tax liability amounting to more or less P203.819 billion on the part of the heirs of Ferdinand E. Marcos in favor of the government... would be more than enough o fund these proposed subsidies," he said.
Last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the Bureau of Internal Revenue is trying to collect the debt payment from the Marcos family.
Sen. Imee Marcos has said her family was willing to settle their liabilities while questioning the timing of the issue.
The dictator's son and namesake, popularly known as Bongbong, is running for president in the May 9 elections.
Bongbong's spokesman, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, earlier claimed that the tax case was still being litigated. A Supreme Court ruling, however, showed that the Marcoses' estate tax assessment of P23 billion was "final and executory."
Pimentel heads the PDP-Laban faction aligned with the PROMDI party which is backing the presidential candidacy of Sen. Manny Pacquiao. Another PDP-Laban faction headed by Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi is backing Marcos Jr.
Meanwhile, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate justice Antonio Carpio reiterated his warning that government can no longer collect the estate taxes if Bongbong wins.
“The president controls the entire executive, he can reverse their decision.. or he can preempt. He can decide for that official, so wala ka talagang magagawa (you can't really do anything)," Carpio said.
Because the BIR Commissioner is a presidential appointee, he can be fired anytime, the former SC Justice said.
He also again rejected the claims of Marcos' camp that the estate case is still pending.
"They are telling lies, obvious lies just because they dont want to pay. How much more if they are in power. Talagang wala tayong makokolekta- tayo ang magbabayad niyan (We won't be able to collect anything, we will be the ones to pay)," he said in a press conference Sunday.
Carpio also said the collection of the Marcos family estate tax now lies with the executive's political will, and not the judiciary.
Bongbong should also be sued for his refusal to pay taxes.
"From 1999, the ball was in the executive department. Wala na sa judiciary. So dapat collection nalang, ginawa na ng judiciary ang dapat gawin nila (all that's left is collection, the judiciary already did its part)," he said.
Carpio also said Marcos showed moral turpitude by not paying the estate taxes.