Marcos family

Carpio: Citizens can sue BIR at Ombudsman for failing to collect Marcoses’ tax

Michelle Abad
Carpio: Citizens can sue BIR at Ombudsman for failing to collect Marcoses’ tax

CARPIO. Former Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio speaks at a media forum hosted by 1Sambayan on April 8, 2022.

1Sambayan

Former SC associate justice Antonio Carpio points to a provision in the Internal Revenue Code that says 'negligent' BIR officials can be held criminally liable

MANILA, Philippines – Any concerned citizen can file a complaint against officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for failing to collect the billions of unpaid estate taxes of the Marcos family, former Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio said in a media forum on Friday, April 8.

While only the BIR can file a case against the Marcoses with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for their refusal to pay P203 billion in estate tax, Carpio said Filipinos can pressure the BIR to collect such by bringing them to the Ombudsman.

“Right now it has to be the BIR that will file the complaint with the DOJ. But citizens can file with the Ombudsman against BIR officials for negligence in collecting the tax, if the tax was prescribed,” he said in the forum hosted by 1Sambayan.

The BIR and the Philippine Commission on Good Government have confirmed that they have been trying to collect unpaid taxes from the heirs of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which were worth P23 billion in 1997 and may have already reached P200 billion based on the estimates of lawyers contesting Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s presidential bid.

Ideally, the BIR must file a case against the Marcoses with the DOJ, and the department would conduct a preliminary investigation. Carpio said that the ball is in the BIR’s court, as it has the records of the offense.

The former associate justice said that if the BIR, the complainant in the case, does not file a complaint against the Marcoses, a provision in the Philippine Internal Revenue Code allows for “negligent” BIR officials to be held criminally liable.

“If the BIR official acts with negligence, and his negligence causes a violation of the Internal Revenue Code, then he will be criminally liable. So we have to show that they have all the records, they know already this is final and executory, and they refuse to do anything about it, and their negligence will result in the non-payment of the tax, because of prescription,” said Carpio.

A 1997 Supreme Court ruling ordering the Marcos family to pay P23 billion in estate tax became final in 1999. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez also confirmed that the debt remained unpaid to this day.

The BIR earlier said it sent its last demand on December 2, 2021.

Marcos Jr., the front runner of pre-election surveys for Filipinos’ top pick for president, walked away from reporters as they asked him if he or any members of his family have paid the estate tax.

Carpio: Citizens can sue BIR at Ombudsman for failing to collect Marcoses’ tax

President Rodrigo Duterte also asked the BIR in a Palace briefing on March 29 why it had not collected the tax until now, though he did not mention the Marcoses. – Rappler.com

Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer at Rappler. Possessing the heart and soul of a feminist, she is working on specializing in women's issues in Newsbreak, Rappler's investigative arm.