MANILA, Mar 24 (Mabuhay) — Retired Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to file criminal cases against the Marcos family for “willfully” refusing to pay their tax liability amounting to P203.819 billion.

During a 1Sambayan virtual forum, Carpio said “it is time” for the BIR to file the cases as the Marcoses have still not paid the said billions of estate tax debt for almost 25 years now.

“Almost a quarter of a century, they did not pay the tax. Ano pang hinihintay ng BIR? File-an na nila ng criminal case (What are they waiting for? File a criminal case). That’s the last thing that they can do. They should now file the criminal case,” he said.

He pointed out there are legal bases for the BIR to do so based on the Tax Code.

“The Tax Code says it is the legal obligation of the administrator to pay the tax. Klaro ‘yan (that is clear) under the Tax Code and the revenue regulation, they are primarily liable to pay the estate tax because they are in control of the assets of the estate,” he said.

He also said under Section 255 of the Tax Code, any person required under the Code or by rules and regulations promulgated thereunder to pay any tax liability who willfully fails to pay such tax shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not less than P10,000 and suffer imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than ten years.

“If they willfully fail to pay such tax, they will be liable criminally up to 10 years imprisonment. In short, Marcos Jr. and Imelda Marcos can be charged criminally by the BIR and the DOJ under Section 255 of the Tax Code for willful refusal to pay the estate tax of the Marcos estate,” Carpio said.

“The refusal to pay the estate tax is willful because almost a quarter of a century has passed since the estate tax was declared final and executory by the Supreme Court and still Marcos Jr. and Imelda Marcos have refused to pay a single centavo of the estate tax which now has ballooned to P203 billion due to interest,” he added.

Meanwhile, former Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares was asked if during her tenure, a criminal case was filed against the Marcoses, to which she said, “During my time, hindi ho kami nag-file ng criminal case. Ginagawa namin, naghahanap kami ng property niya at kinokolekta namin ‘yan kasi kailangan iwe-weigh mo, in time na pumasok kami, walang pera ang gobyerno. So, ang unang objective is mangolekta ng revenue para may support sa lahat ng projects of the government.”

However, she stressed she did not regret doing so as when she was the BIR commissioner, the said issue was not on their “raider’s rail.” Even if she did file, Henares added they might have just entirely focused on then senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ‘s narrative which was not the BIR’s main objective.

Marcos Jr.’s spokesperson Atty. Victor Rodriguez earlier claimed the pieces of property which were the subject of the tax case were still under litigation.

“In fact, even the BIR and the PCGG have arrived at an agreement for the BIR to wait for the decision on the said case before any collection enforcement activities and to establish ownership of the subject properties with certainty to determine with accuracy the fair and just tax base to be used in computing estate taxes, if any,” he added.

He also told the camp of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno, who has raised the said matter both to BIR and PCGG, to address all their queries to the BIR.

But the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has rebuffed claims made by the camp of Marcos Jr. that his family’s tax liabilities are under discussion.

BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay also said he has sent a written demand to the family of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. last year regarding their tax liabilities of P203.819 billion.

Henares further explained the matter of taxation is just simple, and the administrator responsible should just pay their taxes accordingly.

“Simple lang ang taxation sa buong mundo, hindi lang ho dito sa Pilipinas. Ang taxation, hindi ho kami nagtatanong saan ninyo ba kinuha ‘yung pera ninyo. Ang taxation is simple lang ho. Kunwari, meron kayong kinita, kailangan ho kayong magbayad ng buwis. Namatay kayo, may iniwan kayong ari-arian, kailangan ninyo hong bayaran ‘yang estate tax,” she said.

The High Court in 1997 denied the petition filed by Marcos Jr. to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA).

In 1994, the CA ruled that “the deficiency assessments for estate and income tax made upon the petitioner and the estate of the deceased President Marcos have already become final and unappealable, and may thus be enforced by the summary remedy of levying upon the properties” of the late dictator. (MNS)

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