• Return of Marcos loot needs Congress’ nod – Abella

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    MALACAÑANG on Monday urged congress to allow President Rodrigo Duterte to negotiate for the return of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family as former Senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel stressed the need for lawmakers to pass a law that will govern the return of the Marcoses’ assets.

    Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President will not proceed with the negotiations without congressional approval.

    “We don’t have specifics, but as the President has promised, this entire negotiation will be done professionally and with transparency, with a full accounting to the people, and especially, authority from the Congress. We therefore urge Congress to authorize the President to proceed with negotiations and set parameters taking into account concerns raised by critics and the citizenry,” Abella said.

    “The final word would have to come from Congress. This is a new ground. It necessitates setting the proper parameters regarding the matter. We need guidance [from Congress],” he added.

    Pimentel, a victim of Martial Law atrocities, agreed that the Marcos family cannot just return the alleged ill-gotten wealth without a clear procedure.

    “The return of the Marcos wealth could not be 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, who was once the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee which also investigated the Marcos hidden wealth.

    “We need to determine where are these loot, how much money, verify them, including gold deposits in the United States treasury,” he added.

    In August, Duterte said a spokesman of the Marcoses informed him that the family of the former dictator is willing to return some of their wealth, including some gold bars.

    Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos did not confirm or deny the President’s revelation, but said their family is hopeful that Duterte will put a closure to the cases filed against them.

    Meanwhile, Etta Rosales, former head of the Commission on Human Rights, said the return of the loot will not save the Marcoses.

    “They should be jailed. It is not enough to return them,” she told a forum held at Manila Hotel.

    with  JAIME R. PILAPIL

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