MANILA — Supporters of presidential candidate Isko Moreno Domagoso on Wednesday demanded that the family of his rival Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. pay their P203-billion estate tax liability, during a gathering at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City.
They also warned voters of what a Marcos victory in the presidential race could bring.
The supporters belonging to the President Isko Movement (Primo) displayed mock wooden coffins to symbolize the death of democracy when martial law was declared on 1972 by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.
“Marcos Diktadura Maraming Nawala Kesa Nagawa!” their banners read. Other banners stated, “Marcos Diktadura Malaking Disgrasya” and “Marcos Diktadura Bangkarote ang Ekonomiya.”
Jose Jessie Olivar, chairman of the Bus Transport Workers Alliance, said bringing back Marcos to power will bring havoc to the country, pointing out the family’s unpaid taxes.
He urged voters, especially the poor, to “wake up” and not vote for Marcos, Jr.
“Mababalik sila sa puwesto na dagdag pahirap sa taumbayan. Bakit po? Iyong pangako nila na babangon tayo muli, saan po kukunin ang pagbangon natin muli na dito nga sa estate tax na 203 billion na hindi nga nababayaran?" said Olivar, also a victim of martial law in Negros Occidental.
"Nanawagan po tayo na gumising na po, lalo na ang mga mahihirap, mga driver at konduktor. Tayo po ang number 1 na biktima dito, lalo na noong pandemic.”
Primo Isko chairman Nato Agbayani urged the Marcos family to settle their tax debt.
“Dapat po masingil itong P203 billion na equivalent sa 406,000 na kabahayan para sa mahihirap," he said. "Equivalent po 'yan sa 1 milyong scholarships para sa 1 milyong estudyante sa kolehiyo for 4 years, at marami pa pong iba.”
A Supreme Court ruling showed that the Marcoses' estate tax assessment of P23 billion was "final and executory".
That liability has ballooned to P203 billion due to penalties and interests.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue in a written demand has asked the Marcos family to settle their estate tax liability.
Sen. Imee Marcos had said that her brother, Bongbong, and their mother, Imelda, had no copies of the BIR's demand letter.
Bongbong and Imelda are co-administrators of the estate left by their patriarch, who died in 1989.
"Wala kasing kopya na buo 'yung nanay ko. Hinihingi nga 'yung buong dokumento para upuan na once and for all kasi nakailang beses na rin kami na nakikisuyo sa kanlia na upuan na natin at sumahin ng total," Sen. Marcos said.
(My mother has no full copy. We are asking for the full document to discuss it once and for all because we have asked them several times to sit down and compute the total.)
She 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 e."
(We are getting dizzy with this 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's a number of them, and this issue on estate tax has been prolonged.)
The camp of Domagoso was the first to raise the Marcoses' estate tax liability during the campaign season for the upcoming elections.
Domagoso's party, Aksyon Demokratiko, urged the BIR to garnish the bank accounts of the Marcos family to settle their P203-billion tax debt.
The liability would "disappear" if Bongbong would ascend to the Philippines' highest-elected post, Domagoso said early this month.
"Kapag nanalo sila, good luck. Kawawa ang bansa, kawawa ang Pilipino," the Manila Mayor said.
(If they win, good luck. The Philippines will be pitiful, Filipinos will be pitiful.)
"Hindi mo kailangang maging abogado para maintindihan mo na 'yung P203 billion mawawalang parang bula kapag sila na ang naupo," he said.
(You don't need to be a lawyer to understand that the P203 billion will disappear like a bubble if they reclaim the seat of power.)
— Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News