PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will not proceed with negotiating for the return of the ill-gotten wealth of the family of the late President Ferdinand Marcos without congressional approval, a Palace official said Monday.
“We don’t have specifics, but the negotiation will be professional and transparent. We call on Congress to authorize the President to proceed with the negotiation. Congress will be setting the parameters, taking account the concerns of the critics and the citizenry,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters in a press conference.
Abella, however, failed to cite the legal basis as to why the President would need congressional approval in negotiating for the return of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
“The final word would have to come from Congress. This is a new ground. We need guidance,” Abella said.
Abella could not say if negotiating with the Marcoses meant that the family was conceding defeat in more than 100 ill-gotten wealth cases lodged against them and still pending before the Supreme Court and the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.
The Marcos family has 56 pending ill-gotten wealth cases before the Sandiganbayan and 75 pending before the Supreme Court.
“We have to defer to Congress to point that out. I cannot make any comment regarding that,” Abella said.
The state-run Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has been formed during the term of the late president Corazon Cory” Aquino to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
Of the $10 billion that the Marcoses allegedly stole from the Philippines, the PCGG has recovered at least $4 billion.
In addition, the PCGG is also going after P174 billion more from the Marcoses and their cronies.
Duterte is seeking the abolition of the PCGG and replace it with another body that would facilitate the return of the Marcos wealth.
When sought for comment, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos denied knowing about the negotiations.
She said none of them — Rep. Imelda Marcos of Ilocos Norte, son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., and sister Irene Marcos-Araneta – were aware of the talks. LLANESCA T. PANTI