Solon recalls Imelda story on Marcoses’ 7,000 tons of gold
Former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, now Buhay party-list representative, said on Wednesday that Imelda Marcos, the widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, once confided to him that her family kept 7,000 tons of gold deposited all over the world.
Atienza said Imelda, now an Ilocos Norte representative, claimed that she had offered to pay off the country’s foreign debt with the gold but she supposedly could not touch the money due to the interference of a “superpower.”
“I’m announcing it in light of these developments,” Atienza told a press briefing after he was asked to comment on President Rodrigo Duterte’s disclosure that the Marcos family had offered to return some of its wealth.
“She told me, ‘A superpower is preventing us. We can’t move any of the gold deposited in many parts of the world.’ I asked her, ‘what is your estimate?’ 7,000 tons,” Atienza quoted the former first lady as saying.
The gold hoard of the Marcoses, if true, is bigger than the 4,582 tons being kept at Fort Knox in Kentucky; the 3,374 tons in gold holdings of Germany; and the 1,842 tons of China.
The congressman said Imelda made the revelation in a private talk some time in the late 1990s or early 2000s at a wedding in which both of them stood as sponsors.
“You can ask her to confirm it,” he said, adding that the two of them were not even close friends at the time.
“I’ll liberate the country of its foreign debt,” Imelda was supposed to have said.
But Atienza added that Imelda’s daughter, Imee, now governor of Ilocos Norte, overheard the conversation and quickly issued a denial: “Do not believe a word of it,” he quoted the daughter as saying.
The Inquirer tried to reach Imelda through her office at the House of Representatives, but her staff said she was not available for interview.
Speaking at the same press briefing, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, who confessed to being a “Marcos boy,” expressed doubt that there was that much Marcos gold left.
“Where did it come from? I don’t think we will get that much tonnage. I’m having doubt really with the accuracy of that tonnage,” he said.
During the Marcos regime, Suarez said there was a good number of gold production operations in different mining sites.
“This gold is either sold to Bangko Sentral or sold privately. From what I’ve heard, Bangko Sentral can convert gold to US dollars and there were buyers of those gold bars,” he said.
“Some of those gold bars may have been purchased by the late President’s family,” he added.
At the oath-taking ceremony in Malacañang of newly appointed officials on Tuesday, Mr. Duterte said a Marcos spokesperson had agreed “to open everything and probably return what has been discovered.”
The President said the Marcos heirs had expressed openness to returning part of their wealth, including “a few gold bars,” to help the government manage the budget deficit.
A total of P170 billion in ill-gotten wealth had been recovered as of 2016 by the Presidential Commission on Good Government from the Marcoses and their cronies, including Swiss bank deposits, shares of stock, real estate properties, paintings and jewelry.
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