By Genalyn Kabiling
The Marcos family should take the initiative to return the controversial wealth to the government in exchange of a possible compromise deal with pending cases, Malacañang said Friday.
Even as President Duterte doubted the billions allegedly amassed during Marcos regime, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo acknowledged that the Supreme Court has ruled on certain cases about the ill-gotten wealth.
Panelo noted that the Marcoses have yet to make a move ever since President Duterte bared they were willing to return the questionable wealth including a few gold bars last year.
“Siyempre, pera nasa kanila eh, kaya kailangan mo pa rin makipag-deal with the Marcoses [Of course the money is with them so you need to make a deal with the Marcoses],” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
“Sila nag-offer eh ‘di sila ang gumalaw [They made the offer so they should make the move],” he added.
Asked how the return of the Marcos wealth will be implemented, Panelo said: “Puwedeng may compromise agreement kapag with respect to pending cases.”
“If you remember the President was saying that the Marcoses are willing to return iyong nakuha na, I mean na-trace, hindi ba, iyan ang sinasabi niya. I’m willing to sign an agreement between the Philippines and the family, pero wala pang nangyayari, hindi pa napa-finalized iyon [If you remember the President was saying that the Marcoses are willing to return what was taken, I mean what was traced. That’s what he said, ‘I’m willing to sign an agreement between the Philippines and the family but nothing has happened yet. Nothing has been finalized],” he said.
Panelo also tried to explain the President’s recent controversial remark that the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses has not yet been proven.
He said the President only doubted the allegation the Marcoses stole $400 billion since the country does not have such huge amount in the first place.
“Hindi ba the claim is $400 billion worth ang ninakaw, eh wala naman tayong ganoong pera. How can they steal something that you don’t have?” he said.
“He is referring to the billions claimed to have been stolen from us which are non-existent,” he added.
But with respect to the Marcos-related cases in the Supreme Court, Panelo said they have “no choice but to agree” with the court decision on the matter.
“With respect doon sa mga na-trace which is beyond their salary as President and First Lady, iyon ang… under the law, is assumed to be ill-gotten. And papasok iyon doon sa kung magkano ang pag-aari natin, kasi hindi naman ganoon kalaki iyong na-trace,” he said.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government, assigned to recover the stolen wealth, has reportedly recovered around P171.3 billion since 1986. The Marcoses and their cronies have allegedly amassed $10 billion or P530 billion from the nation’s coffers.