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ML@50: Uncollected estate taxes & unretrieved ill-gotten wealth

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ML@50: Uncollected estate taxes & unretrieved ill-gotten wealth

How can a nation “move on” from a tragic past if lawbreakers can face no consequence for their crimes?

The unpaid Marcos estate tax has grown to PHP203 billion due to surcharges and penalties levied by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

“We were never allowed to argue because when this case came out, we were all in the United States. So when it was the time for us to answer, we had no chance to answer because we were nakakulong (detained) in Hickam Air Force Base,” Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. claimed in an interview with actress Toni Gonzaga that aired on September 13, 2022.

This is false because Marcos Jr. already returned from exile in Hawaii in 1991. According to a 1994 Court of Appeals (CA) decision affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1997, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was already congressman of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte when the BIR sent copies of the deficiency tax assessments to him.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer estimated that P203 billion can:

* build 406,000 housing units for the poor at P500,000 per unit;
* pay for 8 years the P56,000 monthly salary of the needed 398 doctors to the barrios;
* provide P9,900 assistance to each of the 20.5 million poor Filipino families;
* provide P270,000 to each of the 70,000 victim-claimants of the Marcos dictatorship;
* enough to feed children aged 5 to 11 for five years;
* enough to provide P750 minimum daily wage for one year to 902,000 workers;
* enough to pay nine times over the P21.1 billion debt of PhilHealth;
* enough to provide P120,000 scholarships to 422,000 students in higher educational institutes for four years;
* enough to provide P80,000 scholarships to 634,375 students in state colleges and universities for four years;
* at P2.3 billion per building, enough to construct 88 ten-story modern hospitals;
* at P80.2 million per building, enough to construct 2,500 eight-story buildings;
* using the proposed entry level rate of P30,000, enough to pay entry-level teachers.

Amid controversies surrounding the unpaid estate taxes of the Marcos family, former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chair Andy Bautista cited the estimate of former PCGG chair Jovito Salonga and former US Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Bosworth as of 1986 of up to $10 billion — more than ₱500 billion in current exchange rate — of accumulated wealth under the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Bautista said the PCGG has so far recovered more than $3 billion or ₱171 billion ill-gotten wealth from the Marcoses and their cronies, but if the government were to stick with this figure, this means around $6 billion has yet to be retrieved from the family.

Sources:
https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1573606/in-bir-bid-to-collect-p203b-from-marcoses-benefits-already-listed
https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/3/24/Marcos-ill-gotten-wealth-unretrieved-6-billion-dollars.html
https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1569275/bir-sends-written-demand-to-marcos-family-on-p203-billion-tax-liabilities
https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/marcoses-already-back-philippines-estate-tax-case-filed/
https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1172711

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