Seares: How much the Marcoses would return | SunStar

Seares: How much the Marcoses would return

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Seares: How much the Marcoses would return

Thursday, August 31, 2017

“The Marcoses, sabi nila, they’ll open everything and probably return yung nakita.”
--President Duterte, Aug. 31, 2017

THE consistent and steady pitch of the Marcoses, notably those who ran for public office, was that they didn’t steal anything, so what should they return?

That argument flatly falls in the face with these facts:

[] Presidential Commission on Good Government or PCGG, the government agency whose main job was to retrieve the loot, said it recovered on its 30th year P170 billion in cash from the Marcos family and his cronies. When PCGG winds up its affairs and converts all sequestered assets into cash, it estimates the total will go up to over P200 billion.

[] Courts here and abroad have ruled there was plunder and Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and his family and friends were responsible. Yet the said rulings didn’t explain why no Marcos has been convicted or jailed.

And now this disclosure of President Duterte that a spokesman of the Marcoses signified willingness to negotiate for the wealths return, which Gov. Imee Marcos did not deny.

Size of plunder

Look at the figures again, as reported by Rappler’s Philip Ilustre Jr. in 2016. If PCGG already took back P170 billion to P200 billion, how much is still left among the Marcos heirs, which PCGG and international agency estimates placed at “only” P5 billion to P10 billion?

The PCGG has not estimated the actual extent of the plunder since not all of it must have come from state coffers although they were all derived from the business of government. And yet clearly, the Marcoses have dodged not only criminal cases but have kept much of the stash as well.

Duterte can do it

Why the revival of interest this week in the private pileup of wealth during almost two decades of the rule of Bongbong Marcos’s father, Ferdinand Sr.? Duterte said the Marcoses would return the money, or, shrewdly and naughtily, whatever the government could find (“yung nakita”).

That, with Rep. Lito Atienza’s disclosure that when he was Manila mayor, Mrs. Imelda Marcos told him personally they had more than 7,000 tons of gold. The gold must be aside from other wealth hidden in local and foreshore bank accounts, dummy foundations and cronies.

Leave to lawyers

Gov. Imee Marcos yesterday didnt confirm or deny, tossing the familiar line, “ang mga abogado na” or let the lawyers handle it. Imee said the president could end the long-running litigation, “deka-dekada na.”

The question would no longer be whether they’d return any wealth when they had been saying they didn’t steal. It would now be how much theyd give back. A certain sum and, maybe, the president said, they’d toss in “a few gold bars.”

That could be just loose change in return for legally keeping the rest of it all and maybe for people to cheer when the Marcoses would get to Malacañang again.

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 01, 2017.

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