‘Team Isko’ political and campaign strategist Lito Banayo on Tuesday urged Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, a PDP-Laban stalwart, to order the Bureau of Internal Revenue to immediately collect the P203-B Marcos debt and use it as cash assistance to the 4.2 million workers who lost their jobs as well as public utility vehicle drivers who have been bearing the brunt of the unabated increase in fuel prices.
“Ako’y nanawagan ngayon kay Sec. Carlos G. Dominguez ng Department of Finance at pinuno ng economic managers, sapagkat si Sec. Dominguez ay miyembro ng PDP-Laban, na ngayong nagkakandahirap-hirap tayo na humahanap ng pera para i-ayuda, siguro naman ang DOF utusan na talaga ang BIR na singilin ang P203 billion na ito para maitulong na ayuda sa mga nawalan ng trabaho at sa transport sector na naghihirap dahil dito sa krisis na ating hinaharap,”Banayo said in a press conference at the Isko Moreno Domagoso for President Headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.
The amount, if collected, is also enough to give the estimated 4.2 million workers who lost their jobs a monthly P4,000 in assistance for a year, he said.
“Yung ayuda nga na ibibigay, mabuti nga from P200 naging P500 a month. But try dividing P203 billion by 4.2 million Filipinos in the workforce na nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemya. That would translate into P48,833.33 ayuda for each of the 4.2 million workers and which will be equivalent to a 4,000 monthly ayuda for each worker for 12 months,”Banayo pointed out.
Banayo said collecting the huge debt could be President Rodrigo Duterte’s legacy, especially now that the president himself has admitted that the government is hard-pressed in looking for funds even to assist the transport sector.
Furthermore, Banayo said there are also different ways to collect the huge debt, despite the delaying tactics employed by the Marcoses that had made the original P23 billion liabilities in 1997 to balloon to P203 billion.
He pointed to the paintings of major impressionists like Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley, among others that Imelda Marcos collected using taxpayers’ money.
“Alam niyo ang isang painting ni Picasso na pag-aari ni Ginang Imelda Marcos, i-try mong i-auction by Sotheby’ or Christie’s, that will fetch about $200 million for a single painting. Meron pa diyang Monet, meron pa diyang Sisley,” he said.
“Bakit hindi puntahan ng BIR or ng PCGG or ng gobyerno yung condominium ng mga ito kung saan nakasabit hanggang ngayon si Picasso, si Sisley, si Monet,” Banayo said.
“Yaman din lamang na ang PDP-Laban ay inendorso na si former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., e di bilang magkapartido, siguro naman kaya nilang pagsabihan yung kanilang inendorso bilang bilang kandidato nila sa pagka-susunod na pangulo ng Pilipinas. Sabihin naman nila, ‘O, bakit naman hindi mo muna bayaran yung estate tax na dineklara na ng Supreme Court with finality, and definitely executory,” said Banayo.
Banayo made the call after the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi endorsed the presidential bid of Marcos Jr. Dominguez is a stalwart of PDP-Laban having been a member since the time of the late president Corazon Aquino.
The seasoned political strategist admitted that he is perplexed how the PDP-Laban, which traced its roots from two parties formed in opposition to the authoritarian government of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was able to come out with the decision to endorse the son and namesake of the ousted dictator.
Banayo pointed out that the PDP was founded by the late senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. in 1982 as an opposition party against the Marcos dictatorship. Laban on the other hand, was founded in 1978 by no less than then imprisoned Benigno Aquino Jr. also to fight the Marcos dictatorship.
“So how a PDP-Laban, which has merged during the time of President Cory Aquino, can now support the candidacy of their founding fathers’ nemesis is beyond any principled choice,” said Banayo.
Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso said earlier Tuesday that if he becomes president, he would sell the massive ill-gotten jewelry collection of Imelda Marcos as the government tries to collect the P203 billion the family owed to the state.
It could be noted that it was in a March 1 press briefing that Moreno first mentioned about the existence of the Supreme Court ruling (G. R. No. 120880) on the P203-B in estate tax which the Marcos family owe the government. He went on to say that if he becomes president, he will surely collect the Marcos debt and use it as ayuda or cash assistance to millions of Filipinos affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Kung maaalala niyo, may mga diyamante, mga assets na nakuha sa kanila. Natutulog po sa Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Ito tangan-tanga natin, pwede naman nating isalba o ibenta na. kasi there is no use of that na sa buhay ng tao kung nandi-dyan lang yan sa vault ng ating gobyerno,” Moreno said during the Serve the Nation presidential interviews aired over TV5.
Based on the reports submitted by Christie’s and Sotheby’s in November 2015, the massive ill-gotten jewelry collection seized from the Marcoses and stored in a vault at the BSP for almost three decades amounts to a conservative estimate of at least P1 billion.
The collection includes diamonds studded tiaras, necklaces, brooches, earrings, belts, and other gems as well as women’s and men’s wristwatches such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Cartier. Some pieces were from renowned international jewelry makers such as Bulgari, Van Cleef and Arpels, and Bucellatti. Among the most notable pieces is the 25-carat pink diamond, considered to be an exceedingly rare jewel.
In the same press conference, Aksyon Chairman Ernest Ramel told media that he has again written a letter to BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay asking him for a certified true copy of the demand letter it sent to the Marcos family on Dec. 2, 2021.
Ramel also scored Marcos Jr. for telling media that all the talks about the P203 billion estate tax liability of his family are all “fake news” and part of negative campaigning against their camp.
“Hindi po paninira at negatibong kampanya ang magsabi ng katotohanan. Nagsalita na po ang Korte Suprema at naghatol na ito ay pinal na. Nagsalita na po kamakailan ang PCGG at BIR bilang tugon sa aming liham at pinasinungalingan ng mga ito ang mga pahayag ni Atty. Vic Rodriguez, isa mga mamahaling abogado at tagapagsalita ni Marcos Jr.,” Ramel said.#