THE LATE dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., through his lawyer, presented on Wednesday a government document proving that the presidential candidate settled the deficiencies and fines relating to the unpaid taxes for which he was convicted.
In a press conference, lawyer Victor Rodriguez showed a certification issued by a local office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Dec. 9, 2021 indicating that he paid penalties worth P67,137 in 2001. The amount was the same with what was stated in a decision by the Court of Appeals, which upheld his tax evasion conviction in 1997.
The document refutes a certification from the Quezon City trial court, which stated that Mr. Marcos had not settled a fine that it had slapped on him in 1995 for failing to pay his taxes.
The court document, which was requested by a lawyer for a group seeking to have Mr. Marcos disqualified from the presidential race, certified that “there is no record on file of compliance of payment or satisfaction of the decision of the regional trial court dated July 27, 1995 or the Court of Appeals dated Oct. 31, 1997.”
“The BIR already answered the tax issue. There is no greater authority when it comes to income tax return at payment of taxes than BIR,” Mr. Rodriguez said in mixed English and Filipino when asked why there was no court record of his client’s tax deficiencies payment.
“Tell me what agency or authority is more superior than the BIR when it comes to enforcement of tax?” he said.
Mr. Rodriguez said their camp did not immediately release the proof “because those who are filing charges against him should be the one to provide evidence” of their accusation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Marcos led by a wide margin in a presidential preference survey this month by pollster Pulse Asia Research Inc.
Mr. Marcos was chosen by 53% of the 2,400 respondents as their preferred successor to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Pulse Asia said on Wednesday. Vice President Leni G. Robredo, the opposition leader, came in second with 20%.
The survey was conducted Dec. 1-6, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2%.
Mr. Marcos’ running mate and the president’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, led the vice-presidential race, picked by 45% of the respondents. Senate President Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto ranked second with 31%.
Amid the upsurge in popularity, Mr. Marcos is facing several petitions before the elections commission to disqualify him or cancel his presidential bid, mostly citing his tax conviction in 1997.
National elections will be held on May 9, where some 8,000 government positions are up for grabs. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Bloomberg