FORMER Senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. said on Monday that there was a need for a law that would govern the return of the ill-gotten wealth, including gold bars, of the Marcos family.
Pimentel, himself a victim of Martial Law atrocities, cited the need for a clear procedure or agreement between the government and the heirs of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
“I have not talked to President Duterte about this. The return of the Marcos wealth could not be just done without proper procedure and the process could be agreed upon through a legislative act. A process has to be followed by the Marcos family and the government,” said Pimentel, a senator from 1987 to 1992, and 1998 to 2010, and once chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee which also investigated the Marcos hidden wealth.
“The problem with ill-gotten wealth is that after tracing it, the bank will say that they don’t have them anymore. We need to determine where are these loot, how much money, verify them, including gold deposits in the United States treasury,” the lawmaker from Cagayan de Oro City told a forum at the Manila Hotel.
Pimentel said a witness during the blue ribbon investigation told him that the hidden wealth was at $13 billion.
Last August 29, President Rodrigo Duterte said that a spokesman for the Marcoses informed him that the family of the former dictator was willing to return some of the alleged ill-gotten wealth, including some pieces of gold bars.
Duterte did not say how much was being eyed but that he was planning to tap the services of a retired Supreme Court chief justice to head the government panel that would forge a compromise with the Marcos family.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, the eldest child of the former president, neither denied nor admitted the President’s statements.
She only said that lawyers were taking charge of the details and that the family has full confidence in the leadership of Duterte and that he would hopefully put a closure to all cases or accusations thrown against them.
The Manila Times tried to get the side of the Marcos family but their lawyers refused to comment.
Meanwhile, Etta Rosales, former lawmaker and former head of the Commission on Human Rights, said the return of ill-gotten loot would not save the Marcoses from being charged in court.
“They should be jailed. It is not enough to return them,” she told the same forum.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government, established in 1986 right after Marcos was ousted in a popular uprising, was created to recover the ill-gotten wealth of his family.
According to the PCGG website, the agency has recovered a total of P92.9 billion from 1986 to Dec. 2010.