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Carpio: Recovery of P125-billion Marcos ill-gotten wealth to end if Bongbong wins

The Philippines' efforts to recover the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth will likely stop if former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wins the presidency, retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio said on Thursday.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government has through the years recovered more than P170 billion worth of the Marcos ill-gotten wealth and is in the process of running after P125 billion more in assets.

"The evidence that they have ill-gotten wealth is overwhelming and mind-boggling, without every shadow of a doubt. That’s really the problem," Carpio said at the 1Sambayan Tapatan Forum.

"If Bongbong Marcos becomes president, I do not expect the P125 billion to be recovered anymore. He’ll probably abolish the PCGG,” he added.

Marcos' spokesman Vic Rodriguez said Carpio's remarks were speculative and meant to sow intrigue.

“We do not respond to a purely speculative scenario concocted by the same man who espouses divisiveness instead of national unity and have wrongly led equally righteous groups and individuals like him, in filing the numerous nuisance petitions against presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos," Rodriguez said.

"His signature ‘yellow political tirades’ purposely meant to foment intrigue such as this are better left ignored," he added.

Carpio, however, cited the 2003 Supreme Court decision ordering the return of the Marcos family's US $658,175,373.60 million Swiss bank accounts and deposited in escrow at the Philippine National Bank, plus interest, to the Philippine government.

The same court decision ruled that the Marcos family was incapable of legally acquiring such millions of US dollars of wealth since the family only earned around US $300,000 from 1965 to 1986 based on their salaries as public officials in different capacities.

Carpio also invoked the 1997 Supreme Court decision ordering the former senator to pay at least P23 billion in estate taxes as assessed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. 

He said the amount has since ballooned to P203 billion due to non-payment and interest.

"As to the P203 billion estate tax? He will not send collection letters to himself.  If he becomes president, we can say goodbye to that," Carpio said.

Carpio said the Marcoses still contested ill-gotten wealth cases against them by saying they owned shares in private companies.

He said the family could resort to the same maneuvers if Marcos won the presidency.

"They intervened in the PLDT case, claiming they own PLDT shares. If he becomes president, hahabulin niya, iipitin nila yan, same with San Miguel since they previously said they own half of the shares of Danding Cojuangco,"Carpio said.

"There is also a pending Supreme Court case where the Marcos family claims they own half of the companies of Lucio Tan. They will reopen all of that, magkakagulo tayo," he added.

Carpio's fellow retired Supreme Court justice Conchita Carpio Morales agreed.

"If they have indeed turned over a new leaf, they should have done it a long time ago and returned this ill-gotten wealth," Morales said.

Lawyer and former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares, for his part, said it was the height of injustice that the Martial Law victims were tortured, if not killed, when they are not the ones who plundered government resources.

"I was tortured jail for four years. Wala akong ninakaw, wala akong pinatay, wala akong sinaktan. Pero ako ang nakulong, apat na taon ng buhay ko ang nawala habang sila ay namamayagpag (I did not kill or harm anybody. I did not steal from the government, Why am I the one who was jailed and lost four years of my life and they get to get away with it?)" said Colmenares, one of the victims of human rights violations during the dictatorship.

"Move on? We cannot move on because there is no justice. Dapat ibalik nila ang ninakaw nila (They should return their loot)," he added. —NB, GMA News