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Palace mulls over options on Marcos

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MALACAñANG on Friday vowed to hasten the recovery of ill-gotten wealth plundered from public coffers—despite calls from Marcos’  kin to “end the decades of cases” against his family. 

“The President is studying how best to proceed in a manner that will advance the nation’s interest and comply with the law,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement. 

“As this matter becomes clearer, we will advise what further action will be taken to finally obtain justice,” he added. 

On Tuesday, Duterte said the Marcoses were willing to “open everything” and “probably return” the wealth that would be seen, including a few gold bars. 

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella

The Presidential Commission on Good Government expressed openness to any steps the administration might take in handing over part of their wealth critics claimed was amassed illegally from 1965 to 1986.

PCGG chairperson Reynold Munsayac, however, did not give any guarantees the government would withdraw civil cases filed against the Marcoses, which is now with the Sandiganbayan.

Their decision, if ever, will be based on the provisions of a possible compromise agreement, says Munsayac. 

“We would always welcome any effort or action,” the PCGG chairperson said. 

“The concept of compromise settlement is not new to PCGG. It has been done repeatedly. Because in this manner, you will be able to obtain [in a fast manner] the ill-gotten wealth faster.”

While there are still no negotiations regarding the purported plan to return the Marcos wealth to the government, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos on Thursday expressed trust that Duterte would help end the decades of cases against their family. 

Duterte’s father, Vicente, served as secretary of general services during the Marcos administration. 

Marcos, however, said the family’s lawyers would be the ones handling the supposed negotiation with the Philippine government in handing over their so-called ill-gotten wealth. 

In a television interview, former PCGG commissioner Ruben Carranza said the government did not need to negotiate with the Marcos family since a 2003 Supreme Court ruling had stated that the Marcoses legally earned only $300,000 from 1965 to 1986, the years Marcos ruled the country.

Marcos, who ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986—with martial law from September 1972 to January 1981—was alleged by the immediately succeeding administration to have amassed a fortune of around $5 to $10 billion while in office, or up to 650 times more than his annual salary, based on an estimate by the Supreme Court and source documents provided by the PCGG. 

Over the last 30 years, the government has recovered at least P170 billion (nearly $3.6 billion) in cash.

But the total recovery efforts could reach over P200 billion ($4.2 billion), as the PCGG is still winding  up on its task and selling the remaining allegedly illegally acquired assets in its possession and recovering some more illegal assets in civil cases pending in various courts.

Members of the Marcos family still remain active in politics—his wife, Imelda, is Ilocos Norte representative while daughter Imee is incumbent Ilocos Norte governor. 

His son and namesake, Ferdinand Jr., or Bongbong, meanwhile, is contesting the results of the recent vice presidential race. The case is with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

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