Manila Standard : When stupidity strikes

7 April 2022

By Charlie V. Manalo | Manila Standard

“It has no limits.”

I have long decided against writing on this topic as I thought then those who brought up this issue have realized their stupidity regarding their understanding of the Marcos estate tax.

But I was wrong. The other day, I ran across news quoting the same people calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to “do more” on the Marcos estate tax. Then, a group of actors and actresses identified with some political personalities but claiming their actions bore no political colors, launched a movement called Bayad Buwis Movement, an obvious dig at Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard bearer, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

So, what really is the score on the Marcos state tax initially amounting to P23 billion but which has ballooned to P203 billion including interests?

While critics of the Marcoses have been citing the case with G.R. No. 120880, they have, as lawyer Vic Rodriguez, “conveniently omitted to mention that the Bureau of Internal Revenue have issued a total of thirty Notices of Levy, resorted to public sale of levied properties and there being no bidder, lots subject of the public sale was declared forfeited in favor of the government in satisfaction of the estate tax due.”

Rodriguez furthers that no less than the Supreme Court has clarified that “in the case of notices of levy issued to satisfy the delinquent estate tax, ‘the delinquent taxpayer is the Estate of the decedent, and not necessarily, and exclusively Bongbong Marcos as heir of the deceased.”

A former schoolmate, Cristy Panogalinga, a certified public accountant, explains that “the estate tax is the burden and demandable from the estate (property owned by the deceased). The billion-estate tax is not the liability of BBM/heirs.”

“The delinquent taxpayer of the estate tax is the estate of Marcos Sr. Thus, if the estate tax is not paid, the government can take actions such as auctioning the estate or selling them. The reason why the heirs have interest is that they will end up paying the estate tax because failing to do so would mean they will not be able to inherit the estate,” Panogalinga says.

Now, if 30 properties have already been subjected to Notices of Levy, aren’t these more than enough to cover the estate tax liabilities as a property is only charged six percent of its worth for estate tax purposes?

But by seizing these 30 properties, the government, in effect, is collecting 100 percent of the properties’ worth, and not merely six percent it is entitled to for estate tax.

Lawyer Bruce Rivera further expounds on the subject saying “the estate which is the property left by Ferdinand E. Marcos pays for it. Not the heirs. Not Imelda, not Imee. Not BBM. Because before they can even have the properties transferred to their names, taxes have to be settled.”

Here’s the clincher though, Rivera notes that “when the state collects estate taxes on a dead man’s properties, it presupposes that the property subject of the tax is owned by the deceased.”

“Hence, if the state has assessed estate taxes, it is deemed an admission by the state that Marcos, the father, is the rightful owner,” Rivera stresses.

Hitting two birds with one stone. Following Rivera’s explanation, BBM not only has no liabilities to the government with regards to the estate tax of his late father’s properties, but also, the collection of the estate taxes against his late father’s properties extinguishes allegations that those properties are ill-gotten.

“Kayo ba, babayaran mo ang buwis sa isang bahay na sinasabi ng gobyerno ay hindi sa yo? Kung oo ang sagot mo, tanga ka lang,” Rivera says.

Unfortunately for these people, they’d rather be branded as stupid than stop on stupid allegations against the Marcoses. Stupidity for them has no limits.