• Talk of immunity for Marcoses should exclude criminal cases, says former senator

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    THE immunity to be granted to the family of the late president Ferdinand Marcos in exchange for returning their ill-gotten wealth should not cover criminal cases, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. said Thursday.

    Pimentel, a member of the opposition during the Martial Law regime of Marcos, issued the statement in light of President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements that the Marcoses won’t return their loot if immunity would not be part of negotiations.

    “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 told reporters.

    The Marcoses are facing at least 120 cases involving their ill-gotten wealth pending before the Sandiganbayan and Supreme Court.

    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 was still targeting the recovery of P179 billion from the family and its 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, said.

    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 by the anti-graft court on August 26, three days before President Duterte announced that the Marcoses were willing to return “gold bars.”

    Pimentel said, however, that another option would be for the President to grant amnesty to the Marcoses, which would cover some criminal cases under his authority.

    “If they return the money and there is a general amnesty plan for them [by the President], that can be done. It can be done,” Pimentel said. LLANESCA T. PANTI

     

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