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Monday, July 15, 2024

Lawyer: BIR payment doesn’t mean BBM can run for office

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A certificate from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) showing that presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. already paid his taxes for the years 1982 to 1985 with interest does not mean he can still seek public office, a lawyer said Thursday.

1Sambayan convenor Howard Calleja, who represents a group that filed a petition against Marcos, said that under the tax code, the former senator must pay his taxes with BIR as well as the penalty, which must be settled with the regional trial court.

In the TeleRadyo interview, the lawyer was referring to the fine imposed by the Court of Appeals on Marcos Jr. in 1997, which affirmed his prior conviction for tax evasion.

The only son and namesake of the former dictator was convicted in 1995 for failure to file mandatory income tax returns from 1982 to 1985. His conviction became final in 2001 when he withdrew his appeal to the Supreme Court.

The lawyer stressed that even if Marcos Jr. has paid the fine as mandated by the regional trial court, he is still perpetually disbarred from holding public office.

“‘Yung pagbayad po ng tax, natural po, sa BIR po binabayaran ‘yan. Dahil sila po ang tagakolekta ng tax. Tama po ‘yan. At kung ako po ang, I would give them the benefit of the doubt na nagbayad po sila, ‘yung pinakita po nila ay simple lang pong pagbabayad po ng taxation po ‘yun,” Calleja said.

“Hindi po yun, sa second liability, na kanyang pagbabayad ng penalty. Na hindi ho binabayaran sa BIR. Ito po ay binabayaran sa (Regional Trial Court). Bakit po sa RTC? Because po ‘yun ang original court na nagpataw ng kaparusahan dahil sa paglabag ni Bongbong Marcos Jr.,” he explained.

“So ganito po yun: ‘Yung kanya pong pinakita ay BIR at hindi po RTC so kung ako po ay–I would give them the benefit of the doubt, hindi ko na po kukuwestiyunin kung tama po ‘yung resibo, or anything. Bigay na natin sa kanila.”

“Pero, malinaw, hindi pa sila nagbabayad ng penalty sa paglabag sa batas ng taxation o ng pagbayad ng buwis o pag-file ng income tax return,” Calleja said.

“Kasi ang nasa batas po natin, kung meron ka pong moral turpitude, upon fulfilling the penalty or serving the penalty, may five years po yun. So after five years po yun mawawala ‘yung moral turpitude,” Calleja said.

“Pero ito po, sinasabi natin, since hindi pa ho siya nagbayad ng penalty, the penalty is continuing. So ibig sabihin nand’yan pa ho ‘yun. So wala pa ho siya ‘yung nakapag-comply ng penalty for moral turpitude,” he explained.

“Kahit na nagbayad po, whether or not they have paid, either the BIR or the penalty, the penalty of perpetual disqualification is not removed. Ibig sabihin po, kahit po nagbayad, siya rin po ay still perpetually disqualified for any public office whether elective or appointive. Klarong-klaro po ‘yan.”

“So ‘yung pagbayad does not save them or allow them to run for public office or for the presidency. Dahil po, uulitin ko po, kahit na nagbayad ka eh nand’yan pa rin po ‘yung penalty of perpetual disqualification,” Calleja said.

He added, “Pero klarong-klaro lang po ‘yun na pag nagbayad sila, inaamin nila na they are convicted of a crime. Klaro po ‘yon dahil nagbayad po kayo so meron kang conviction. And that conviction, again, carries with it, perpetual disqualification.”

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