December 5, 2022

We keep hearing about the P203 billion unpaid taxes allegedly owed by the Marcos family to the Philippine government.
We keep reading about the deliberate intent to evade its payment. Due to this, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is being branded as a tax evader and is, therefore, unworthy of being elected as president. Is he?
Issues about the unpaid taxes of the Marcos estate are half-truths. On the surface, it looks true, but a deeper analysis will justify that it is also a lie. Hence, to set the record straight, the truth and lie, the fact and the fiction must be determined.
First, the facts: It is true that there is a settlement of the estate of the late Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. It is also true that the estate is quite enormous. It is finally true that there are taxes due thereon.
Next, the fiction, to wit:
The taxes due are not the personal liability of Marcos Jr. It is the liability of the estate. In legal parlance, the estate comprises the assets and properties left by a dead person to be distributed to his heirs. For purposes of settlement, an estate is a judicial person separate and distinct from the heirs;
It being that the estate has a separate judicial personality, the tax is laid neither on the property nor the transferor nor the transferee. On the contrary, it is a tax on the privilege of transferring the property from the deceased to his heirs. It cannot be made the personal liability of the heirs. Based on this principle, the tax due on the estate of Marcos Sr. cannot be made the personal liability of Marcos Jr. Hence, to say that the son is a tax evader is inherently wrong. If there is a tax evader, it is the estate of Marcos Sr.
Granted that it is the duty of Marcos Jr. as administrator to pay for the taxes due on the estate, he may do so based on the gross estate. If the gross estate is undetermined, there is no amount on which the tax base may be computed;
When the estate of Marcos Sr. was assessed, the government included all properties, real and personal, that it deemed or presumed to belong to him. The estate was not afforded the chance to contest the value of the gross estate. Yet, in the interim, most of these properties that were included in the gross estate of Marcos Sr. were sequestered by the same people who want to tax it.
When a property is sequestered, the ownership reverts to the government. Technically, the Marcos estate is overstated since it includes properties that were already sequestered or seized by the government. To disavow this is to deprive the Marcoses of the right to their property without due process;
The settlement of the estate of Marcos Sr. had been pending since 1989, the year he died. Why only now that it is being revived with vigor and renewed energy is pretty obvious.
At any rate, there is an amnesty passed enacted under the present administration and if the estate of Marcos Sr. will avail of its benefits, all questions pertaining to who is liable or how much is the liability shall become moot and academic.
Marcos Jr. is a Filipino. Shouldn’t we extend the same courtesy to him as we do to all our countrymen? Or must we continue to destroy each other because of our political inclination?
If there is such a thing as “politically motivated,” this is it.

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