The family of the late President Ferdinand Marcos will seek immunity from prosecution in exchange for the ill-gotten wealth that they intend to return to the government, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday.
“Whether it is gold, silver or platinum [that will be returned]you need a law [coming from Congress]because itong mga Marcos hindi papayag na isauli nila tapos ikulong sila. Kung ikulong mo ako, bakit ko isauli, di ba? (The Marcoses won’t agree to return the ill-gotten wealth if they will be jailed. If they will end up in jail, why would they return anything?),” Duterte said at the sidelines of the awarding of the Metrobank’s Outstanding Filipinos that included soldiers, police officers, teachers, among others.
”If I were them, I will just reserve it for my children and grandchildren,” he added.
Marcos is survived by his wife, Rep. Imelda Marcos of Ilocos Norte, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., Irene Araneta Marcos and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.
“We need a law on what is the arrangement [in returning ill-gotten wealth]. Is there an immunity [offer]if they return it? That’s a long process. We have to craft a law on that,” Duterte added.
The President however said there is no assurance that the Marcoses will go scot-free.
“That is not up to me. I cannot guarantee their immunity. But without immunity, they won’t return it. Even if we go to the ends of the earth, we won’t get them to return it,” Duterte added.
The Marcoses are facing a slew of cases at the Sandiganbayan and Supreme Court in connection with their alleged ill-gotten wealth.
“If they are going to return the ill-gotten wealth, they should seek immunity,” Duterte said.Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman however said there is no need for Congress to pass a law allowing Duterte to negotiate for the return of the Marcos wealth.
“President Rodrigo Duterte does not need any new law or authority from the Congress to negotiate for the return of any or all the hidden wealth of the Marcoses,” Lagman said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Llanesca T. Panti
With Reina Tolentino