Duterte: No deal yet on Marcos wealth
DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said that he had not struck a deal with the Marcoses just yet on their willingness to return part of their unexplained wealth, including a few gold bars.
Speaking to reporters here during the birthday celebration of Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, Mr. Duterte said that when Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos made the offer, he listened but did not make any commitment.
“It was like this: The Marcoses are ready to return [assets]. I said I accepted the explanation because there’s no other explanation. I do not know anything, I cannot debate with them so I accepted the explanation. It’s about time that this thing is finally settled,” he said.
However, the President said that in making the offer, the Marcoses were not admitting that the wealth being returned was stolen.
“[Imee] is not ready to announce that it had been stolen. But she said whatever was under suspicion should be discussed and that I accepted,” he said.
He said the offer was made during a meeting with Imee and other individuals he did not identify.
Mr. Duterte said he could not possibly decide on the offer because he was not authorized by a law to do so.
“When the proceeding would begin, we should start with Congress. They represent the people,” he said.
“There could be more [wealth] but we have to start with Congress. You know, Congress must authorize, then it should be the Central Bank governor and the secretary of finance [who would negotiate],” he said.
The President said the criticisms were the result of “knee-jerk reactions” by people who did not know anything.
“A President cannot [negotiate by himself]. It has to be the law and the law must come from Congress, not from me. I cannot say with finality that this should be the way. There are so many stages to undergo. If it’s an arbitration because it’s settlement, it should go under an arbitration [proceeding]. But Congress must authorize because that is a money to be recovered by the government of the Republic of the Philippines and that was the offer,” he said.
Mr. Duterte said that if the government rejected the settlement offer and decided to pursue the claim against the Marcoses, then prosecution would continue.
“That’s prosecution and that realm belongs to the secretary of justice. Maybe there would be a compromise but if there would be none, you proceed,” he said.
“It’s not like if I accepted the explanation, it was already a done deal. You’re an idiot if you think so because you blurt without using the gray matter between your ears, which is your brain,” he said.
But Mr. Duterte hinted that if the government would proceed with prosecution, nothing might happen as he belittled the efforts of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
“Why is it that until today [nothing happened]?” he said. —Allan Nawal
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.