The immunity to be granted to the family members of the late president Ferdinand Marcos in exchange of them returning their ill-gotten wealth should not cover criminal cases, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. said Thursday.
Pimentel, former chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee which investigated the Marcos wealth, made the stance in light of President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements that the Marcoses won’t return their loot if immunity is not on the table.
President Duterte wants Congress to enact a law to facilitate the return of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth to government coffers.
“On the immunity, that will depend on the outcome of the negotiation for the return of the Marcos wealth because returning the ill-gotten wealth only covers the civil aspect of the cases,” Pimentel said.
The Marcoses are facing at least 120 cases of ill-gotten wealth pending before the Sandiganbayan and Supreme Court wherein they are contesting the initial ill-gotten findings on their wealth.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), mandated by the law to go after the ill-gotten of the Marcoses, has for its part recovered $4 billion out of the $10 billion Marcos loot from 1987 to 2016 and is still going after P179 billion illegally acquired wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies.
“Under our laws, you can settle the civil aspects [of the cases]. But as to the criminal aspect, that’s another thing. That would depend on evidence,” Pimentel, a lawyer, argued.
Former president Marcos’ wife, Rep. Imelda Marcos of Ilocos Norte, has at least 10 pending graft cases before the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division. All these 10 cases have been deemed submitted for decision of the anti-graft court on August 26, just three days before President Duterte announced that the Marcoses are willing to return their gold bars.