MALACANANG has distanced President Rodrigo Duterte from efforts gearing towards a possible out-of-court settlement between the government and the family of the late President Ferdinand Marcos in exchange for the recovery of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth, a spokesman for the Chief Executive said.
Ernesto Abella reiterated that the decision to negotiate with the Marcoses would be up to Congress.
“One major issue that our lawmakers would have to deliberate is whether to continue the current efforts to regain what rightfully belongs to the government which has been going on for 30 years, or to negotiate a settlement involving billions of pesos which the nation can use now,” Abella said.
Abella’s statement was issued a day after former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. warned that granting immunity to Marcos family members in exchange for returning the illegally acquired wealth should not cover criminal cases.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), created in 1987 and tasked to go after the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth, has recovered $4 billion out of the estimated $10 billion that were stashed away from 1987 to the present.
In addition, the PCGG also has to deal with the fact that other assets of the Marcoses were either deposited under a different name or in a bank in a foreign currency, and were protected under Philippine laws.
“It is good that these concerns [on whether immunity should be on the table or should be limited]are being raised. This is exactly why the President made the overture of the Marcoses [to return their ill-gotten wealth]public and asked Congress to come up legislation providing authority [to the President to negotiate]and guidelines [in implementing the law for recovery of Marcos wealth],” Abella added.
On top of more than 120 pending cases before the Supreme Court and the Sandiganbayan, Rep. Imelda Marcos of Ilocos Norte is also facing 10 graft cases before the anti-graft court.