Presidential hopeful told if he wants to be elected he should obey the law and cough up the 203 billion pesos his family owes
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)
A Catholic bishop in the Philippines has challenged presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to clear a dark cloud hanging over him and his family by paying a huge tax bill owed to the government.
The family was ordered by a court in 1999 to pay 23 billion pesos (US$460 million) in taxes on the estate left by dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
That amount was not paid and the total amount now owed has risen to 203 billion pesos because of interest and penalties imposed since then, according to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
“Bongbong Marcos has been very consistent in his statements saying he will abide by the orders of the court. That is very noble of him. But I think it’s about time he walks his talk,” Bishop Bagaforo told Radyo Veritas.
Marcos Jr.’s spokesman Vic Rodriguez brushed the issue aside, saying the case was still pending in court.
“You want to clear your family’s name? Do it right honestly and sincerely. If not, even your great-grandchildren will be haunted by a past they did not make or choose, by the past you so stubbornly chose to cover up"
But Bishop Bagaforo said it was now time for Marcos Jr. to confront the past by paying what his family owed the Filipino people.
“You want to clear your family’s name? Do it right honestly and sincerely. If not, even your great-grandchildren will be haunted by a past they did not make or choose, by the past you so stubbornly chose to cover up,” the prelate said.
Despite the scandal, Marcos Jr. is still leading the presidential race with 56 percentage points, according to a poll last month by Pulse Asia.
However, support for his main rival, Vice President Leonor “Leni” Robredo, has increased by 9 percentage points, from 15 to 24 percent.
Bishop Bagaforo, however, said that surveys were never a guarantee that Marcos Jr. could escape his family’s tax liabilities.
“It does not mean you’re off the hook. You need to set a good example for the Filipino people. You owe it to them, to be honest, and be a man of your word,” the prelate said.
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