President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday raised doubts about the ill-gotten wealth accusations against the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos who allegedly amassed up to $10 billion from state coffers during his two-decade rule.
“Until now you have not proven anything except to sequester and sell. Hindi mo nga sigurado kung talagang kay Marcos ba ‘yan,” Duterte, a vocal admirer of the late dictator, said in a speech before a convention of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines at the Manila Hotel.
The President made the statement as he defended anew his decision to allow the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a move the Supreme Court ruled in November 2016 was legal.
During his two-decade rule that started in 1965, Marcos supposedly managed to 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 Marcos’ ouster due to the People Power Revolution in February 1986, the state—through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) created by then-President Corazon Aquino the same year—went to great lengths to recover the stolen wealth, even engaging in arduous court battles here and abroad that dragged on for years.
The PCGG has so far recovered more than P171 billion worth of ill-gotten wealth from the Marcoses and cronies of the former President, who died in exile in Hawaii in 1989.
In 2017, Duterte said the Marcos family was willing to return a portion of their supposed hidden wealth and gold bars.
Duterte, however, said congressional approval may be needed to give possible immunity to the Marcos family from prosecution should they agree to return the alleged ill-gotten wealth. — BAP, GMA News