The camp of 2022 presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. released documents it obtained from the Bureau of the Internal Revenue (BIR), in an attempt to prove that the former senator “owes nothing to the government” in connection with the penalties he received following his 1997 tax conviction.
On Wednesday, December 22, Marcos’ spokesman Vic Rodriguez presented to the media a copy of a BIR certification and receipt, showing that Marcos paid fines worth P67,137 in 2001, in compliance with a 1997 Court of Appeals (CA) ruling.
The document referred to the P67,137 payment as “total deficiency taxes and fines due.”
“Bongbong Marcos has no unpaid tax or tax deficiency or penalty or interest. It has all been paid a long time ago,” Rodriguez told reporters in Filipino.
For context, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC), in 1995, found Marcos guilty of tax evasion and failing to file his income tax returns in the 1980s. The appellate court, in 1997, acquitted him of tax evasion, but sustained his conviction for failure to file income tax returns (ITRs).
The 1997 ruling imposed no prison term, but ordered the late dictator’s son two kinds of payments: (1) deficient tax, and (2) fines.
For the first one, Marcos’ lawyer Estelito Mendoza had said the CA order was unclear.
When asked whether the Marcos camp made an effort to clarify the CA order, Rodriguez asserted that the documents they showed prove “we owe nothing to the government.”
Why does this matter?
The ghost of Marcos’ tax records decades ago haunts him now because various groups have petitioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to block his 2022 Malacañang bid. They cited the implications of his tax conviction as basis for the push to exclude him from next year’s race under Philippine laws.
Whether or not he complied with the court’s judgment is relevant because under the Omnibus Election Code, a person’s disqualification on the basis of a conviction is removed “after the expiration of a period of five years from his service of sentence.”
In the first high-profile case seeking the cancellation of Marcos’ candidacy papers, petitioners represented by former Supreme Court spokesman Ted Te even submitted to the Comelec a court certification from the Office of the Clerk of Court of the entire QC RTC, which stated there was no record that Marcos complied with “payment of fine” in his tax cases.
That certification, for them, meant Marcos has not served his sentence.
Why does BIR have a record of the payment while the lower court doesn’t? Rodriguez said he would not want to speculate.
“I can only speak for Marcos. I am not the spokesperson of the QC RTC which rendered the decision,” he said.
We have reached out to Te for a reaction, but we have yet to receive a response.
The deposed dictator’s son is facing at least six unresolved petitions with the Comelec against his 2022 presidential bid. The Marcos camp has described these legal challenges as nuisance and mere propaganda. – Rappler.com