Pimentel lists possible panels in Senate probe on Marcos estate tax

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 6) — Three Senate committees may lead the hearing on the uncollected estate tax of the Marcos family, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source, Sen. Koko Pimentel said the ₱23-billion estate tax of the heirs of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which supposedly ballooned to over ₱200 billion, may be looked into on several aspects.

"I will leave it to the Senate President to designate the committee. Pero (But) this is a flexible subject matter because number one, it involves uncollected taxes," Pimentel noted. "Pwede ito sa Ways and Means. The taxes, should this have been collected, could have been appropriated or used for ayuda sa mga naghihirap ngayong panahon, so pwede rin ito sa Finance Committee."

[Translation: This could be assigned to the Ways and Means panel. The taxes, should these have been collected, could have been appropriated or used as financial aid for those in need, so this could also be tackled by the Finance Committee.]

"And since 20 plus years na ang kaso, we can look into nonfeasance, malfeasance, or misfeasance, ang ibig sabihin failure to act by government officials or refusal to act, so pwede rin ito sa Blue Ribbon Committee," he added.

[Translation: And since the case has been going on for more than 20 years, we can look into nonfeasance, malfeasance or misfeasance, which means failure to act by government officials or refusal to act, so this could also be tackled by the Blue Ribbon Committee.]

Pimentel filed the resolution to investigate the Bureau of Internal Revenue's failure to collect the Marcos estate tax. He said the hearing will also look help plug loopholes in tax laws.

READ: Sen. Pimentel pushes probe on BIR's failure to collect Marcos estate tax 

The senator said he wants top BIR officials, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Imelda Marcos — the estate administrators — to attend the hearing.

"Ngayon titingnan na ng Senado ito, kung bibigyan ng oras ng ating mga committee chairmen, para malaman natin once and for all, why it takes BIR 20 plus years to collect a world-record amount of estate tax na pinanalo pa nila all the way to the Supreme Court," he pointed out. "Ganoon ba kahina ang ating mga tax law? Pero pagdating sa mga middle class tiklop sila sa BIR."

[Translation: The Senate will look into this, if the committee chairmen will allow us to do so, in order for everyone to know once and for all, why it takes the BIR 20 plus years to collect a world-record amount of estate tax case, which they have won all the way to the Supreme Court. Are the country’s tax laws really that weak? But when it comes to the middle class, they have no choice but to comply with tax laws."

In a separate statement, Pimentel said there is time to tackle the issue.

"No development yet as to which committee can and will hear it. Hence, I cannot announce a schedule yet. Everyone is too busy. Home stretch na of the campaign. We still have the whole month of April, pwede pa (we can still do it)," he said.

The BIR sent a letter to the Marcos family in December 2001 that demanded payment for their tax liabilities. President Rodrigo Duterte has also called out the BIR for uncollected estate tax, but did not name names.

READ: Duterte calls out BIR for uncollected estate tax

CNN Philippines' Glee Jalea and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.