“Lies. Barefaced lies.”
A few days ago, an item appeared in one of this country’s leading newspapers that, for reasons best known to the newspaper’s news editor, failed to get the prominent space that it clearly deserved. The item dealt with presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos—a.k.a. BBM—and the claims that he had been making about his knowledge of and role in the concealment and disposition of the wealth illegally amassed by his parents President Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.
The news item consisted almost entirely of the rebuttals of one-time Presidential Commission on Good Government commissioner Ruben Carranza to the I-didn’t-know and I-wasn’t-aware claims of the dictator’s son and namesake. To make sure that the readers of the Manila Standard and other leading newspapers get to read what was said by Mr. Carranza, a first-rate attorney now associated with the US-based International Center for Transnational Justice, I am reproducing here the claims-versus-facts exchange between BBM and Carranza.
Claim No. 1 of the dictator’s son is that he had “no role” in his family’s ill-gotten wealth. His second claim is that he should not be made to answer for his father’s crimes. Claim No. 3 is that he was not old enough to know about the deposits that his parents were making abroad during his father’s dictatorial regime. BBM’s fourth claim is that he was not old enough in 1998 when the PCGG learned about the deposits made by his parents with the Panamanian corporation Arelma S.A.
Carranza marshalled PCGG facts and factual figures to demolish BBM’s claims one by one. This is what he said by way of rebuttal of Mr. Marcos’ claims:
Supreme Court records will bear out that Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was very much involved in the case that resulted in a decision declaring Ferdinand Marcos’ and Imelda Marcos’ $678-million secret deposits in Swiss banks as ill-gotten – and therefore forfeitable in favor of the Philippine government—wealth. It was BBM who was asked by the Supreme Court to answer, and he did answer, questions regarding the contents of the said Swiss accounts.
When the dictator died in September 1989, it was BBM and his mother who assumed the management of his estate. That was to be expected, considering that BBM was the only male among the dictator’s children.
Bongbong Marcos was already 15 years old in 1973 when his father deposited assets worth $2 million with the New York Cityoffice of Merrill Lynch & Co. The deposit was made to the account of the Panama-registered corporation Arelma S.A.
BBM was already 40 years old—very much a grown man—in 1998, when the PCGG discovered the placements.
The big difference between BBM and Ruben Carranza is that BBM has been making claims whereas the latter, a seasoned attorney, has been speaking with PCGG facts and factual figures as basis. Making claims is easy, but facts are facts.
Ferdinand Jr. has been saying that he had no knowledge of what his parents were doing; Carranza says that he did have knowledge.
Ferdinand Jr. has been saying that he was unaware of what was going on around him during the martial-law years; Carranza insists that he was aware. Ferdinand Jr. claims he was not old enough to know that his parents were depositing large amounts of money abroad; Carransa asserts that at 15, Bongbong was old enough to know. And Carranza says BBM knew about the 1998 PCGG discovery of his parents’ Panamanian deposits because he was already 40 years old at that time.
In the face of the PCGG facts and factual figures, BBM’s I-was-not-old-enough and I-didn’t-know claims can be dismissed as barefaced lies. The dictator’s son and his supporters should stop making them. BBM was old enough to know about, was aware of, and was very much involved in the concealment and management of his parents’ ill-gotten wealth.