By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – “When will President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his family pay for their estate tax dues?”
This is the question of Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) in its letter to Bureau of Internal Revenue Chief Romeo Lumagui Jr.
The group went to the BIR’s national office on Wednesday, Feb. 22, calling on the agency to issue another demand letter to Marcos and his family to pay their long overdue estate tax worth at least P203 billion $3.7 billion).
CARMMA convenors said that it has been more than a year, under the leadership of former BIR chief Carlos Dominguez III, that the agency declared that it had issued a demand letter to then presidential candidate Marcos Jr. in December 2021.
Former BIR Chief Lilia Guillermo, who was appointed by Marcos, also said that she would ask the latter to be a “role model” should the BIR pursue an estate tax case against their family.
Guillermo was later on replaced by Lumagui.
“It should be emphasized that the BIR should implement the final judgment of the Supreme Court on the Marcos estate in 1997, that has been ruled as final and executory in March 1999,” the group said in the letter.
Read: BIR urged to sue Marcoses over P203-B estate tax
Read: A second look at the disqualification case vs. Marcos Jr.
The BIR has kicked-off its campaign against tax evaders called, “Run After Tax Evaders” this month in time for the tax filing season this year.
“The agency need not look far – the one who has to pay a large amount of taxes is just a stone’s throw away, in Malacañang,” CARMMA further said.
“The President said that the BIR is the ‘lifeblood of the government’, thus the BIR is in a position to exercise its role as a government agency to demand tax payments from those who have utterly disregarded their obligations. The President is definitely not exempt from paying taxes, much more as the head of government who publicly told the people to pay taxes on time,” it added.
Marcos himself endorsed the BIR’s campaign where he called on the Filipino people to “pay the correct amount of taxes on time.”
CARMMA said they are aghast at “how the president has responded to this issue, in complete disregard of their family’s obligation, for the last 20 years.”
“We share the sentiment of many that should the president’s estate tax deficiencies be paid, the BIR can easily reach its targets for 2023, and make up for the many budgetary requirements not just for the bureaucracy, but for the Filipino people, who urgently need funds for social services and aid during the economic crisis amid the pandemic,” CARMMA said.
Among those who signed the letter are former Social Welfare and Development secretary and martial law survivor Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, and former legislators Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III and Satur Ocampo.
It was also signed by martial law survivors and activists Bonifacio Ilagan, Joanna K. Carino and Danilo dela Fuente, Dr. Edita Burgos, Assistant Prof. Richard Bolisay, Drs. Chiles Aedam R. Samaniego and Maria Isabel Samaniego, human rights advocates Germaine De Runa-Jalandoni and Siegourny Yap, visual artist and animator Kevin Eric Raymundo, and spoken word artist Alfonso Manalastas. (RTS, RVO)