By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter
PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo on Friday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte doubted the Marcoses had ill-gotten wealth because there were no cases that convicted the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr.
For her part, Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo said court decisions here and abroad are “obvious proof” of the family’s ill-gotten wealth.
“There is no court case that convicted the late President of any ill-gotten wealth. I don’t know of any case filed against the President,” Mr. Panelo said in a televised briefing.
“If there’s no case filed against the late president and there’s no conviction on the matter of ill-gotten wealth, I agree with the President on that point,” he said, adding that cases that have been decided do not necessarily concern ill-gotten wealth attributed to the Marcoses.
This followed the President’s claims that the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth remained unproven, even as he signed a joint resolution extending the availability of ill-gotten wealth as compensation for human rights-abuse victims during the martial law.
Mr. Panelo also said the money said to be stolen by the Marcoses is “non-existent.”
“As I said, he is referring to the billions claimed to have been stolen from us which are non-existent,” he said.
“The point I am saying is, since we didn’t have that kind of money at that time and Jaime Laya is saying that intact ang gold bars, eh mukhang baka iyong akusasyon na nagnakaw sila, eh hindi pa napoprobahan sa parteng iyon,” he also said. (Then maybe the accusation that they stole from state coffers is still not proven on that point.)
For her part, the Vice-President cited Republic Act No. 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which had a provision allocating P10 billion of the money deposited in Swiss bank accounts to victims of Martial Law.
“Hindi totoo na walang proof, kasi marami nang kasong nadesisyunan. Alam natin iyon. Marami nang kasong nadesisyunan, hindi lang dito sa Pilipinas, pero pati mga courts sa Switzerland at saka sa US, na mayroon nang judgment,” she said over DYMD 93.7 Energy FM in Dumaguete City, Thursday. (It’s not true that there’s no proof because there are cases on the matter that have been decided. We know that. There are cases, not just in the Philippines, even the courts in Switzerland and some in the US have also made their judgment.)
“‘Di ba pinapabayad niya sila, pinapabalik iyong perang ninakaw? In fact, mayroon nang mga victims ng martial law na nakatanggap na ng bayad. So hindi ko alam kung saan nanggagaling iyong statement na iyon, kasi ano naman, official records iyong mga desisyon ng mga korte, na sinasabi na talagang may kasalanan, kaya nga pinapabalik iyong pera,” she added. (Weren’t they compelled to pay, to return what they stole? In fact, there are martial law victims who have received reparations; so I don’t know their basis for their statement. The court decisions are considered official documents of their guilt, and that’s why they’re asked to return the money.)
In his statement, Otso Diretso senatorial candidate Lorenzo R. Tañada III said, “We can never have enough of this administration’s inconsistent policy declaration. After raising doubts about the Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth, President Duterte’s approval of the extension of claims distribution to human rights victims under the Marcos regime is, indeed, very welcome news.”
“The President’s acknowledgement of the claims of human rights victims should serve as a reminder to him about the Marcos ill-gotten wealth. The government is getting the money for this reparation from the recovered ill-gotten wealth from the United States and Switzerland.”
“On December 21, 1990, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court affirmed a prosecutor’s findings that the Marcoses hid $356 million in Swiss banks through dubious foundations during their two-decade rule. The money was then held in escrow by the Philippine National Bank in 1999.”
“In 2003, the Supreme Court also allowed the forfeiture of the money — which by then had grown to over $658 million due to interests and other accrued amounts as of January 2002 — in favor of the Philippine government.”