Marcos wealth

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Friday, January 4, 2013


THE announcement made by the government the other day that it is planning to stop its quest for the still unfound “embezzled” wealth of former president Ferdinand Marcos is a sound one. The search for the so-called Marcos “treasure” has been going on for well over a quarter of a century now without any success.

Many people may not agree to my attitude towards the way Agence France Presse handled the report, in the sense that it had presumed that Marcos was an embezzler and a dictator. Well, the AFP might be right but I think it should be our own people and the local media that should do the branding, not foreign individuals.

In any case, let’s go on with what our “dictator” did with the cash he stashed away when he had our country in his grip and stranglehold. The fact that up to now only half of the believed $10 billion money was found has prompted government searchers to consider the search as no longer worth the effort.

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Members of the Marcos family have been accepted back to the fold of Philippine society. This has endowed truth to the general impression of Filipinos having short memory.

Early last year, we were invited on a trip to Ilocos. I was in Ilocos Sur some years back as staff member of the Sunday Times Magazine to do a pictorial of Vigan. We visited the old streets and took photos of the old houses and buildings that later appeared as a cultural feature of the town.

It was more of a pictorial on the aged city than a political report of its colorful past where, if I recall correctly, there were always killings and violence during elections. But I would be doing a disservice to Vigan if I will not admit that it is a fascinating place.

Some years later, I was also invited to visit Ilocos Norte, the province of the Marcoses. I cannot recall now what occasion it was that brought me to Laoag, to the windmills along the seacoast, and to the tourist attraction that was the burial place of FM. The corpse of the former one-man ruler of the country was well preserved, as if he was just asleep in an air conditioned room.

The AFP update on the Marcoses reported: “With Marcos’ widow and children back in positions of political power, and the government tightening its belt, the cost of the pursuit has become prohibitive.” According to the head of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the effort has been overtaken by the “law of diminishing returns...At some point you just have to say 'We’ve done our best’ and that’s that. It is really difficult.”

At any rate, considering the present positions being held in government now by the members of the Marcos family, the most that we can do is to accept the overused saying to “forgive and forget.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 04, 2013.

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