Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is offering to be the defense lawyer of former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. over the reported unpaid estate tax liabilities.
Enrile, a Harvard-educated lawyer and tax expert, said Marcos critics could get their best lawyers and file charges over the tax issue but he remained confident he can beat them in court.
“Walang issue. Kasuhan mo si Bongbong? Eh tatawanan ka. Mag-presenta sana ako na maging abogado niya at dalhin nila lahat ng magagaling na mga abogado dyan,” Enrile said in a statement issued by the Marcos team.
“Hindi naman ako nagyayabang, nag-practice ako ng law. Lahat ng klaseng trial na hinawakan ko na, nasa record ng Pilipinas ‘yan. Wala pa akong natalong kaso,” he said.
The government is trying to collect from the Marcos heirs the estate tax that was originally P23 billion but now surged to P203 billion due to penalties and interests. The Supreme Court ruled on the estate tax liability back in 1997 but the Marcos camp still refused to pay and claimed the case is pending in court.
Enrile earlier argued that Marcos could not be held responsible for the estate tax owed to the government. If there is any tax liability, he said the government should run after the Marcos estate instead.
“Iyong estate tax, ‘estate’ tax nga eh, buwis ng estate at hindi buwis ni Bongbong. Hindi buwis ni Imelda. Hindi buwis ni Imee or ni Irene. Buwis ng estate ni Presidente Marcos,” he said.
Enrile served as defense minister during the administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. He played a key role in the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution when he, alongside then Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, pulled out support from Marcos. The bloodless popular revolt ousted the 20-year dictatorial regime of Marcos.
Years later, Enrile became an ally of Marcos Jr. even endorsing his presidential run in the May elections.