MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte himself should urge the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to go after the unpaid taxes of the Marcos family, according to Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Ernest Ramel.
In an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Ramel said it would be a big help to the government if it can recover the Marcos family's unpaid P203-billion estate tax.
"Kung halimbawa, suwertihin si Mayor Isko [Moreno] at siya ang maging ano (presidente), lahat ng puwedeng habulin na property nila, eh hahabulin," he said on Wednesday.
(For example, if Mayor Isko wins as president, he will go after it.)
"Sayang 'yan, makapagpatayo sana ng mga ospital 'yan, nakapagpatayo sana ng paaralan 'yan. Marami ano, kaysa naman umutang tayo nang umutang. Hindi na natin alam kung saan tayo kukuha ng pondo, ang dami nating krisis na kinakaharap," Ramel added.
(That money could be used to build hospitals, build schools. We could use it for a lot of things, instead of taking out loans. We don't know where to get money amid the crises we are facing.)
For Ramel, getting hold of the P203 billion all boils down to the political will of the executive branch.
"Ang tanong natin, may pagkakataon bang makolekta? Sana. Lagi namang nasa political will 'yan," he said.
(If we ask if we can recover it? I hope so. It will all depend on political will.)
"Baka naman mas maganda na 'yung ating pangulo na mismo ang maghimok, 'BIR kolektahin mo na 'yan.' At kung mayroon namang paraan, may mga properties diyan na hindi naman under sequestration, na nandiyan lang na puwede nating habulin," Ramel added.
(Maybe it's better if the president himself urges the BIR to collect the unpaid taxes. And if they have properties that are not under sequestration, we can go after those.)
Malacañang on Tuesday refused to answer media queries regarding the Marcos family's unpaid P203 billion estate tax, saying that this "borders on politics."
The matter was best brought to the Palace's economic cluster, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) or even coursed through Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.'s lawyer, said acting Palace Spokesman Martin Andanar.
The BIR has confirmed sending the Marcos heirs a written demand to settle their estate tax liabilities.
"The BIR did send a written demand to the Marcos heirs on December 2, 2021 regarding their tax liabilities," BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said in a letter that the Aksyon Demokratiko party posted on Facebook.
Marcos Jr. has claimed there's a lot of "fake news" involved on the unpaid taxes, and that this matter should be left to the courts.
Moreno, Aksyon Demokratiko's standard bearer, has said he would go after the Marcos family's unpaid taxes should he win in the May 9 elections.
The Marcos camp has yet to address the issue, with Senator Imee Marcos even refusing to answer queries during an interview with reporters on the sidelines of an event.
The younger Marcos, who is running for president, was also convicted in 1995 for failing to file mandatory income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 when he was governor and vice governor of Ilocos Norte.