By Lance Arevada


As a defense of his decision to continue online cockfighting (e-sabong) operations in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte called out the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for its failure to collect a certain unpaid estate tax up until now.

The President revealed that allowing e-sabong operations would mean that the government would have a monthly revenue of P640 million, which he noted that it cannot easily find in other means.

“I’ll make it public now, it’s P640 million a month. And in a year’s time, it’s billion plus. Saan tayo maghanap ng pera ng ganoon na kadali na siguro?” he said in his Talk to the People on Monday.

Duterte said that the revenue for the government can only be easily found in tax collection if only the BIR has collected a certain estate tax.

“Saan tayo maghanap ng pera ng ganoon na kadali na siguro? Sa taxation natin, so ang gobyerno can only prod... Nandiyan ‘yung BIR so tanungin natin ‘yang BIR bakit hanggang ngayon hindi nakolekta ‘yung estate tax,” the President prodded.

While Duterte did not give any specifics in his statement, the unpaid tax that is currently making headlines is the P203-billion estate tax linked to the family of presidential candidate and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

A ruling from the Supreme Court in 1997, which has been deemed “final and executory” in 1999, showed that the Marcos family has an estate tax liability worth P23 billion. An estate tax is imposed based on the assets of a deceased family member, which in this case is dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

However, a demand letter from the BIR to the Marcos family showed that the unpaid liability has ballooned to P203.819 billion because of the penalties and charges it incurred over the past years.

“BIR is collecting and demanded payment from the Marcos estate administrators. They have not paid,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in response to the President’s statement in his address.

On the other hand, Marcos Jr.’s spokesperson Atty. Vic Gutierrez said on Saturday that the issue currently hounding the survey frontrunner is “all about politics” as the case is still pending in court.

“It’s not a coincidence that rivals of presidential front-runner Bongbong Marcos are raising this matter in unison a few weeks before the elections; sadly this is all about politics,” he said. 

Meanwhile in Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Marcos Jr.’s political party, general counsel Atty. George Briones agreed that the P23-billion liability is final but the P180-billion worth of penalties is still subject to reconciliation.

“Kung pagmamasdan mo ang balita ngayon, parang ang sinasabi na yata eh P23 billion naging P203 billion na so nadagdagan na po ng P180 billion. Karamihan po niyan, penalties at surcharges na kapag na-late lang tayo sa income tax natin ang laki-laki na po eh,” he added.

Edited by: Quian Vencel A. Galut