“We were never allowed to argue because when this case came out, we were all in the United States. When it was time for us to answer, we had no chance to answer because we were nakakulong in Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.”

“Now we are all here, open the case and let us argue it. So that all of the things that we should have been able to say in 1987, ’88, ’89 that we were not able to say.

That was the main gist of Bongbong Marcos’ statement on his family’s P203-billion estate tax deficiencies remaining unpaid up to now when they have restored themselves in power. Aired on Toni Gonzaga’s “Toni Talks” on Sept. 13, the broadcaster ALLTV is owned by the Villar family that counts the mother-and-son Marcos confederate senators.

For the record, the Marcoses returned to the Philippines in 1991. In fact, Imelda Marcos and Bongbong Marcos both ran in the elections of 1992, with the latter winning for the congressional seat of Ilocos Norte’s second district. They were already bodily present in the country when the tax case was heard in court.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue began the tax assessment in 1991 when the family was no longer in Hawaii.  Assessed was the estate of Ferdinand Marcos with P23.29 billion in estate taxes, P184.16 million in unpaid income taxes of Marcos and his wife Imelda for 1985 and 1986, and P20,410 in unpaid income taxes against the dictator for 1982 to 1985.

The Philippine Star made a fact-check that summarizes the history of the case. It is the Supreme Court decision it references that shows us the fine prints of the history of the case. It is an unassailable document that totally exposes Bongbong Marcos’s lie.

First of all, he was the petitioner in the case when it was in the Court of Appeals. He lost his case on Nov. 24, 1994 in CA-G.R. SP No. 31363 in which the court held that: “In view of all the foregoing, we rule that the deficiency income tax assessment, are already final and unappealable and the subsequent levy of real properties is a tax remedy resorted to by the government, sanctioned by Section 213 and 218 of the National Revenue Code. Wherefore, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the petition for certiorari with prayer for Restraining Order and Injunction.”

Marcos Jr. elevated the case to the Supreme Court. The high court in fact narrates that he as petitioner participated in the case:

“Specifically, petitioner Ferdinand R. Marcos II, the eldest son of the decedent, questions the actuations of the respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue in assessing, and collecting through the summary remedy of Levy on Real Properties, estate and income tax delinquencies upon the estate and properties of his father, despite the pendency of the proceedings on probate of the will of the late president, which is docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 10279 in the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 156.”

“Petitioner had filed with the respondent Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with an application for writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order on June 28, 1993, seeking to —

  1. Annul and set aside the Notices of Levy on real property dated February 22, 1993 and May 20, 1993, issued by respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue; II. Annul and set aside the Notices of Sale dated May 26, 1993; III. Enjoin the Head Revenue Executive Assistant Director II (Collection Service), from proceeding with the Auction of the real properties covered by Notices of Sale.”

Here is the full historical timeline of the case:

The deficiency estate tax assessments were served to Imelda Marcos on Aug. 26, 1991 and Sept. 12, 1991 at No. 204 Ortega Street, San Juan, Metro Manila. Formal assessment notices were served to petitioner Ferdinand R. Marcos II on Oct. 20, 1992 at his office in the House of Representatives. They were also served a Notice to Taxpayer inviting them or their duly authorized representative to a conference.

What happened after that? The Supreme Court averred that: “the deficiency tax assessments were not protested administratively by Mrs. Marcos and the other heirs of the late president within 30 days from service of said assessments.”

Feb. 22, 1993: the BIR Commissioner issued 22 notices of levy on real property against certain parcels of land owned by the Marcoses to satisfy the alleged estate tax and deficiency income taxes of the spouses Marcos.

May 20, 1993: four more Notices of Levy on real property were issued for the same purpose.

May 26, 1993: additional four notices of levy on real property were again issued. The high court said that such was a remedy pursuant to Sections 205 and 213 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).

March 12, 1993: Loreto Ata, counsel of Bongbong Marcos, requested the BIR that they, the Marcos family, be duly notified of any action taken by the BIR. In response thereto, copies of the aforesaid notices were again served on April 7, 1993 and on June 10, 1993 on Mrs. Marcos and the petitioner.

May 26, 1993: notices of sale at public auction were posted at the lobby of the City Hall of Tacloban City. The public auction for the sale of 11 parcels of land took place on July 5, 1993. There being no bidder, the lots were declared forfeited in favor of the government.

June 25, 1993: petitioner Ferdinand R. “Bongbong” Marcos II filed the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, with prayer for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction.

As already mentioned, he lost the case in the Court of Appeals.

On June 5, 1997, the Supreme Court, in G.R. No. 120880, handed down its decision. The high court’s decision is a lesson in elegantly defining who between the two parties – the government or the Marcoses – is ultimately the oppressor:

“We cannot therefore, countenance petitioner’s insistence that he was denied due process. Where there was an opportunity to raise objections to government action, and such opportunity was disregarded, for no justifiable reason, the party claiming oppression then becomes the oppressor of the orderly functions of government. He who comes to court must come with clean hands. Otherwise, he not only taints his name, but ridicules the very structure of established authority.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court RESOLVED to DENY the present petition. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated November 29, 1994 is hereby AFFIRMED in all respects.”