By SIEGFRED ALDOUS LACERNA
FOUR PRESIDENTIAL candidates were in the same boat of collecting the P203 billion estate tax debt of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr’s heirs to help farmers and drivers amid price hike on various commodities.
This after the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) confirmed to the camp of presidential bet and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso that they have already sent a written demand to Marcos’ heirs regarding their unsettled debts.
This debt is rooted from the 1997 Supreme Court decision which dismissed Marcos’ plea on a levy dated 1993 and sale of 11 real properties in Tacloban to satisfy their tax liabilities. Originally, their debt was just at P23.29 billion but due to interest, it skyrocketed to P203.819 billion.
Domagoso said that if the tax debt of the Marcoses will be collected, he will use it to assist farmers and drivers amid rising fuel and fertilizer costs.
“Umasa kayo mga kababayan, ‘yung isang pamilya na may utang na 203 billion na estate tax, sisiguraduhin natin sisingilin ko ‘yun (Trust me, I will make sure to collect the P203-billion estate tax debt of that family),” Domagoso added.
Domagoso also stressed that if he decreases the tax on oil and electricity by 50 percent, the country will lose P65 billion. However, with the uncollected taxes on his hand, Domagoso said he would still have billions to give to the Filipinos.
“It’s a matter of management, fiscal management lamang at certainty of law (It’s a matter of management…management and certainty of the law),” Domagoso added.
On the other hand, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson lamented on the P101 billion obtained from the tax packages they passed, notwithstanding the fact that there is still an uncollected Marcos’ debt.
“Eh merong P203 billion nga na sisingilin lamang, nandiyan na, bakit ayaw singilin ng BIR? (There is a P203 billion unsettled debt, why can’t the BIR collect it?)” Lacson said.
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said that the P200 billion tax debt of the Marcos heirs could help, especially because several officials do not want to suspend excise tax amid high oil prices as the country does not have money. To add to that, the given cash aid for drivers only amounts to P200.
“Kapag nasingil natin ito, hindi na natin kailangan tipirin ang ating mga kababayan (If we are able to collect their debt, we would not need to be frugal towards our countrymen anymore),” Robredo said.
Labor leader and presidential bet Leodegario “Ka Leody” De Guzman added that while he agrees to collect the P203-billion estate tax debt, he proposes to tax the country’s richest too.
“Tingin ko dapat mag impose tayo ng wealth tax sa lahat ng bilyonaro dito sa bansa para magkaroon ng pondo (I think we have to impose wealth tax for the billionaires in the country so we can have funds),” De Guzman said.
Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wasn’t able to answer controversies thrown toward his family last night because he refused to attend the first presidential debates organized by the Commission on Elections. F