Isko Moreno targets Marcoses' P200-B estate tax dues: party chair

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2022 11:12 AM

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MANILA - If elected president, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso will go after some P200 billion in estate taxes that the family of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. failed to settle, the mayor's camp said Monday.

The Manila mayor's camp has intensified its attacks against the Marcos camp, with Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Ernest Ramel and Domagoso's campaign manager Lito Banayo holding a press briefing highlighting the former senator's tax issues, educational background, track record and public discussion no-shows.

Domagoso "started the ball rolling" in criticizing Marcos' tax cases, Ramel said when asked why the candidate does not seem to be criticizing his opponent as much as his camp.

"My statement came out in support of what he already said na hahabulin niya ang P200 billion na di binabayaran ng Marcoses tungkol sa estate tax na 1997 ruling pa," he told ANC's Headstart.

(My statement came out in support of what he already said that he would go after the P200 billion in estate tax that the Marcos has yet to pay since its 1997 ruling.)

"In fact today we’re going to have a letter received sa commissioner ng BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) asking kasi kailangan every 5 years nagbibigay ka ng demand letter sa heirs," he added.

(In fact today we’re going to submit a letter to the BIR commissioner, because it needs to give a demand letter every 5 years from the heirs.) 

Marcos Jr was convicted in 1995 for failure to file mandatory income tax returns from 1982 to 1985. The Court of Appeals acquitted Marcos of non-payment of taxes in 1997, but it upheld the guilty verdict on failing to file tax returns. He appealed the ruling before the Supreme Court but later withdrew it in 2001. 

The Commission on Elections First Division earlier dismissed petitions to disqualify Marcos from running for president, saying failure to file tax returns is not a crime involving moral turpitude. 

'MARCOSES ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH'

Ramel noted that it is untrue that Marcos Jr had nothing to do with the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family "when there are so many cases where he himself tried to withdraw money from the Swiss accounts." 

Former Presidential Commission on Good Government commissioner Ruben Carranza earlier accused Marcos Jr. of being responsible for hiding wealth his family unlawfully acquired during the administration of his father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. 

He noted Bongbong Marcos and his mother Imelda became the administrators of the Marcos estate following Marcos Sr.'s death in 1989. 

Citing a 2003 Supreme Court decision, Carranza said Bongbong Marcos not only knew what kind of assets his family held, but also that the wealth was acquired unlawfully. 

In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that, in the face of "undeniable circumstances" and an "avalanche" of documentary evidence against them, the Marcoses failed to prove they lawfully acquired $658 million plus interest deposited in Swiss bank accounts. The money was awarded and returned to the Philippine government. 

The SC decision was based on the grounds that: 
1. The offender was a public officer or employee;
2. He must have acquired a considerable amount of money during his incumbency; and 
3. Said amount is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property. 

The high court said that the total value of the $356 million first deposited in the accounts was disproportionate to the estimated $304,372.43 both Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos would have made between 1966 and 1986 as President and Metro Manila Governor respectively. 

ABS-CBN News sought the Marcos camp's statement on Carranza's remarks, though they have yet to respond. 

WHITE ELEPHANT

In the interview, Ramel also criticized Marcos' "white elephant projects in his home province Ilocos Norte where he served as governor for 9 years and vice governor for 3 years.

"Nine years as Ilocos governor and you have 6 years to run the country and yet you have nothing to show. Paano mo ipapakita sa tao na (How will you show the public that) you're the best qualified to get this country out of the pandemic?" he said.

Ramel claimed Domagoso was "gaining 2 to 3 percentage points every week, while frontrunner was losing the same numbers."

"Even the other surveys SWS, Pulse (Asia), is showing the top second choice is Mayor Isko Moreno. And the so-called voters of Ferdinand Marcos Jr are going to Mayor Isko. It seems like that’s a pattern," he said.

"I don't know if you believe this but even Pulse Asia's (executive director) Ms. (Anna) Tabunda said Mrs. (Vice President Leni) Robredo’s numbers has a cap. May limit as to what vote she could get. We don’t see the numbers of Marcos supporters will go to her."

Marcos Jr.'s camp has repeatedly claimed that all the cases against him are "political trash," lodged by "political assassins," and are intended to block his presidential bid.

The family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos has long sought to rebuild its image and has repeatedly denied allegations that it plundered state wealth while in power, estimated in 1987 at $10 billion.

His dictatorial rule was also marred by violence, including disappearances and deaths of perceived enemies.