Palace backs Duterte remark doubting Marcoses amassed ill-gotten wealth
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday backed the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that there is still no proof that the Marcos family amassed billions of ill-gotten wealth during the 20-year reign of the late strongman President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
In a speech on Tuesday, Duterte said that the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family has not been proven until now.
“Until now, you have not proven anything except to sequester and sell. It cannot even be confirmed if such were really owned by the Marcoses,” Duterte said in a speech before a convention of municipal mayors in Manila.
Sought to clarify Duterte’s statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President was referring to the alleged billions amassed by the Marcoses that remains to be decided on by the court.
“[W]ith respect doon sa claim na they stole so much billions coming from us, ni wala naman tayo noon. Iyon siguro sinasabi ni Presidente,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
He dismissed allegations that Duterte, a known friend of the Marcoses, was lawyering for the family.
“Kasi nga hindi nila naintindi iyong point of view ng Presidente. Ang point of view lang ng Presidente with respect to other billions na sinasabing hindi pa napapatunayan iyon; unang-una paano mo mapapatunayan iyon, eh wala naman tayong ganoong pera. But with respect to those cases decided by the court, ay walang question doon, no question doon – iyon na ‘yun eh,” he said.
“Now, the question now is, where in the heavens name, did the Marcos got those so much wealth?” he asked. “Di ba sinasabi $400 billion dollars ang ninakaw? Ha, $400 billion dollars eh wala naman tayong perang ganoon.”
Asked where he got the $400 billion figure, Panelo said he only heard of it during the 1970s.
“This figure is way beyond accusations that the Marcoses amassed ill-gotten wealth believed to be worth from US$5 billion to US$10 billion through dummies and cronies,” he said.
Despite doubts they have raised on the allegations that Marcoses illegally amassed huge sums of money and assets, the Palace official nevertheless acknowledged the 2003 decision of the Supreme Court, which ruled that $683 million in Marcos Swiss bank deposits was ill-gotten. The SC also ordered its forfeiture in favor of the Philippine government.
“It’s a huge amount in that sense but what I was saying earlier, kung 600 million iko-compare mo sa 400 billion dollars eh ‘di maliit iyon,” he said.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), formed in 1986 primarily to recover the supposed ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, has reported that it has recovered more than P171 billion worth of ill-gotten wealth stolen by the Marcoses.
“From the President’s perspective as a lawyer, whatever the Supreme Court says, we have no choice but to agree,” Panelo said. /kga