Friday, 3 June 2022
Senator Zubiri should know this basic fact especially as he is set to lead the Senate for the next six years. The country’s economic recovery, health crisis response, political stability, and his own approval ratings are shaped by the level of transparency, integrity and credibility of the government. Zubiri recently commented to the media that the President-elect Marcos’ P203 billion estate tax is only an election issue and suggested that people move on from that ‘discourse’. Marcos had been convicted of tax evasion in 1997. On March 2022 the Bureau of Internal Revenue sent a written demand for him to pay the said tax liability.
Will Zubiri along with the Senate super majority spend the next six years undermining its independence, contrary to former Senate President Sotto's advice, and shield the first family from any criminal liability? If the incoming Senate President’s behaviour towards legislation is dependent on the impact these will have on his political survival, then how can he be trusted to defend the national interest?
There is no indication that this government will let up on gaslighting the issue of the Marcoses’ criminal martial law legacy, ill-gotten wealth, graft convictions and tax evasion, aided by widespread disinformation alongside intensified red tagging of critical voices.
Addressing graft and corruption is central to the right to the precepts of good governance. We have yet to see how it can be done beyond tokenism, with the over-abundance of political dynasties, both new and old, in Philippine Congress and exacerbated by a bastardized partylist system. They all continue to perpetuate patronage electoral politics as we have seen in the May polls.
One way to go forward is to urge the President-elect’s family to settle all their tax liabilities, return all their stolen wealth to the nation, and desist from any efforts at historical distortion.