MARCOS: OPEN FAMILY’S P23-B ESTATE TAX CASE: ‘Our side can now be heared,’ says the President

By ALFRED G. GABOT

Editor in Chief

MANILA – Now, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wants to reopen the estate tax case involving the Marcos family properties which in 1991 was worth over P23 billion so that, with due process, he said it can be settled and closed properly.

As he celebrated his 65th birthday, Marcos revealed a change of heart about the case during an exclusive interview with actress-singer-host Toni Gonzaga which was aired during the soft launch of the new Channel 2, the ALLTV of billionaire and former Senate President and Speaker Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr.

Marcos led a tree planting program in San Mateo, Rizal as one of his activities on his 65th birthday. He also celebrated his birthday with the orphans in San Juan City, conducting a gift-giving activity for them.

In the same interview, Marcos disputed claims that his late father President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.,  was a dictator, adding that his martial law rule in the 1970s was not meant to prolong his grip on power.

Martial law was painted as a dark chapter in Philippine history because the “victors” wrote it,” Marcos Jr. said, which victims disputed.

Marcos explained that martial law was declared to suppress the armed rebellion from two fronts – the communists and the Muslim separatists.
Marcos also revealed in the interview his dream of lifting more Filipinos out of poverty, as he cited that many children suffer from hunger and living in poverty.

Acknowledging that “performance is best politics,” Marcos promised to work for the Filipino people and give them a comfortable life.

“Performance is the best politics. ‘Pag maganda ang nagawa mo, kahit anong sabihin nila, nagawa mo eh (If you are able to accomplish something, whatever they say, you are able to do it),” he said.
The president admitted that “partisan interest” has divided the country.
“We lost sight, in many ways, of the national interest. And we only talked about partisan interest. Pinaglalaban lang natin ‘‘yung sa partido ko, ‘yung sa kandidato ko, ‘yung sa gusto ko,’ doon sa… Hindi natin iniisip ‘yung ano ‘yung para sa Pilipinas (We just talked about the political parties, their candidates, and their interests. We do not talk about what the Philippines deserves),” Marcos said.
Marcos, who is also the Secretary of Agriculture, said in the interview he plans to provide rice allowance for government workers, citing the need to ease their daily expenses amid the rising prices of basic goods.

Marcos maintained that his goal of slashing rice prices to as low as P20 per kilo is “possible” but admitted that it may take some time.

Despite the challenges that he may face during his presidency, Marcos said he is now ready to take on a “wild ride.”

Marcos said he is encouraging the investigation of his family’s so-called billions of pesos worth of unpaid estate tax, saying they are prepared to answer questions on the matter.

“We are actually encouraging that this finally be resolved because…I don’t want to make a legal opinion for which I am not qualified…but we were never allowed to argue because when this case came out, we were all in the United States,” he said.

“Now we are all here, open the case and let us argue with it,” said Marcos.

In 1997, the Supreme Court found that the Marcos estate was liable for a total of P23 billion estate tax for failing to file estate tax returns and payments since the older Marcos’ death in 1989.

 “Iisa-isahin namin talaga ‘yung sinasabi nilang property kasi hindi maliwanag ang pag-aari ng mga property na sinasabi amin. Sinasabi namin hindi amin ‘yan. Huwag niyo kami tina-tax diyan,” Marcos said.

The President said that his family did not have the chance to answer the case, pointing out  that they could not present an argument at that time because they were in the United States.

“So when it was the time for us to answer, we had no chance to answer because we were nakakulong in Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii,” he added.

Marcos disclosed that he had signed a quit claim several times to prove that they had nothing to do with those properties. “Pumirma na ako, ilang beses na akong pumirma ng quit claim na tinatawag. Kung talagang gusto niyo, kunin niyo. Hindi amin ‘yan eh,” he added.

“Paano ho sila nag-come up nung P23 billion na figure?” Gonzaga asked.

“Hindi ko alam.  Basta’t pinagsama-sama lang nila kung ano-anong property. Eh ‘yung karamihan doon, hindi talaga — wala kaming kinalaman doon,” Marcos said.

The Marcos family left the Philippines for Hawaii in 1986 after the EDSA People Power Revolution.

The late former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. passed away in Hawaii in 1989. This led to the creation of a Special Tax Audit Team to assess tax liabilities and obligations of the late former president.

In 1991, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued a deficiency estate tax assessment for over P20 billion at that time.
In October that year, the younger Marcos returned to the Philippines and  filed a petition in the Court of Appeals (CA) in 1993. The CA decided the case  in 1994 and Marcos appealed it to the Supreme Court in 1995 but the High Court dismissed it in 1997.

The Marcos family had argued that they were not given due process, saying that they were not given the opportunity to question the Notices of Levy.

The SC, however, said that the notices about the deficiency estate tax assessment were sent to Marcos family several times after they returned to the Philippines.

According to the High Court’s decision, the Marcos family did not do anything to question these assessments.

The SC’s decision became final and executory in 1999. It means it can no longer be appealed.

Marcos won the presidency by a landslide 31,629,783 votes, or over 16 million votes ahead of his closest rival, former Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo.

Marcos admitted that his landslide win “shocked” him.

He, nevertheless, attributed his victory to his father and mother, former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

“‘You (Dad) should be here. This is yours. This is not all mine. This is yours and mom’s. It’s your good work that brought me here. Don’t leave me now. I’m going to need your help,” Marcos said, as he recounted what he had told his father when he visited his tomb on May 11, or two days after the May 9, 2022 presidential race.

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