Filipino bishop challenges Marcos Jr. to pay his tax bill

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Philippines

The presidential hopeful said if he wanted to be elected he had to obey the law and cough up the 203 billion pesos his family owed

Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. greets supporters during a rally in Laoag city, Ilocos norte province, north of Manila, on March 25. (Photo: AFP)

Posted: Apr 06, 2022 07:55 GMT

Updated: April 06, 2022 08:45 GMT

A Catholic bishop in the Philippines has challenged presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to dispel a dark cloud hanging over him and his family by paying a huge government tax bill.

The family was ordered by a court in 1999 to pay 23 billion pesos ($460 million) in taxes on the estate left by dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

That amount has not been paid and the total amount owed has risen to 203 billion pesos due to interest and penalties imposed since then, according to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

On April 5, Caritas Chief Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan called on Marcos Jr. to obey the law and foot the bill if he wants to become president.

“Bongbong Marcos has been very consistent in his statements saying that he will abide by the court orders. It is very noble of him. But I think it is time for him to deliver,” Bishop Bagaforo said. at Radyo Veritas.

Marcos Jr.’s spokesman, Vic Rodriguez, dismissed the issue, saying the matter was still pending in court.

“You want to clear your family name? Do it honestly and sincerely. Otherwise, even your great-grandchildren will be haunted by a past they didn’t make or choose, the past you so stubbornly chose to hide.”

But Bishop Bagaforo said now is the time for Marcos Jr. to face the past by paying what his family owes to the Filipino people.

“You want to clear your family name? Do it honestly and sincerely. Otherwise, even your great-grandchildren will be haunted by a past that they did not make or choose, by the past that you have so stubbornly chosen to conceal,” the Prelate said.

Despite the scandal, Marcos Jr. still leads the presidential race with 56 percentage points, according to a poll conducted last month by Pulse Asia.

However, support for his main rival, Vice President Leonor “Leni” Robredo, increased by 9 percentage points, from 15% to 24%.

Bishop Bagaforo, however, said the investigations were never a guarantee that Marcos Jr. could escape his family’s tax obligations.

“That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. You must set a good example for the Filipino people. You owe it to them, be honest and be a man of your word,” the Prelate said.

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