President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said the family of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos has expressed willingness to return the alleged ill-gotten wealth, including a few gold bars.
“The Marcoses, I do—I will not name the spokesman. Sabi nila na they’ll open everything and probably return ‘yung nakita lang. Sabi nila na, ‘Malaki ang deficit mo sa… Maybe this year, ang projected deficit spending would be big.’ Sabi niya, ‘Baka makatulong. Pero hindi ito malaki,’” Duterte said.
The President that the gold bars would not be as massive as the Fort Knox or the United States Bullion Depository in Kentucky.
“Sabi nila, isauli nila para walang ano—and the only reason, sabi nila, was the father was just protecting the economy for the [eventuality] na umalis siya. He thought of regaining the Malacañang, that is why ganito ang lumabas na parang naitago,” he added.
Duterte said that he wants a former chief justice and two other people to handle the negotiations.
“I will accept the explanation, whether or not it was true, wala na eh. They are ready to return,” he said.
“And I’m happy na we come with a clean... Make something that is really worthwhile for the Filipinos,” he added.
During his two-decade rule that started in 1965, former President Ferdinand Marcos managed to illegally amass an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion from government coffers. His family stashed them away in secret local and offshore accounts, or hid them through dummy foundations as well as cronies.
Following the strongman's ouster in 1986, the government - through the Presidential Commission on Good Government created the same year - went to great lengths to recover these stolen wealth, even engaging in arduous and court battles here and abroad that dragged on for years.
Three decades later, the PCGG got back a considerable chunk of the illegally acquired assets and properties, and even managed to earn revenue for the government.
Below is a timeline of significant milestones in the quest to recover the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth.