Duterte confirms talking with Imee, says Marcoses ready to return wealth to gov’t

President Rodrigo Duterte revealed on September 3 that he already talked with Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos over the return of their wealth to the government.

“I just accepted the explanation na gusto nilang makipag-areglo na sa gobyerno kasi dapat matapos ito,” Duterte told reporters in Davao City in the early morning of September 3 after attending the birthday of Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles.
“I accept the explanation because there is no other explanation. I do not know anything. I cannot debate with them. So sinabi ko, I accept the invitation na it’s about time that this thing is finally settled,” Duterte said.

Duterte said that he already talked with Imee, who also attended the birthday party.

However, the President said that a law must govern the turnover.

“We have to start with Congress. I cannot say with finality na ito-ito ang mangyari because there will be so many stages. If it’s an arbirtation, kasi areglo, it would undergo an arbitration, kung totoo talaga. Then it should be the Central Bank of the Philippines and the Secretary of Finance. A President cannot (negotiate). It has to be the law,” he said.

He added that it is up to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to pursue further cases against the Marcoses.

“Maybe there would be a compromise. Kung wala , then you proceed,” Duterte noted.
As to rumors that the Marcoses’ willingness to return their wealth was an “operation” to push former Senator Bongbong Marcos’ plan to run for president in the next elections, Duterte said he does not care about that.

“Wala na akong pakialam diyan. In 5 years I will no longer be at the political scene,” he said.

However, Duterte said that he did not agree on a specific amount of the wealth that should be returned to the Philippine government.

“…I did not agree on for what amount and how much for these long, I accepted lang na gusto na nilang makipag-areglo sa gobyerno para matapos na ang kaso,” he said.

He added that Imee did not reveal whether the family wealth was ill-gotten.

“She’s not ready to announce na ninakaw ‘yung pera. Misis ‘yung pinagdudahan, pag-usapan. That, I accepted. But when the proceedings should begin, they should start with Congress,” said Duterte.

In its report, CNN noted that there are already existing laws on recovering the Marcoses’ wealth.

The late President Corazon Aquino established the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in February 1986. As per Executive Order No. 1, its mission is the “recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad.”

Since its inception until December 2015, the PCGG has recovered more than P170 billion. The commission also filed 248 cases against the Marcos family and their cronies, as of December 2016. Victims of the human rights abuses during the Marcos regime also started receiving compensation in May 2017 from the P10 billion allotted by the government and soured from the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth obtained by the Philippine government by the Swiss Federal Court in December 1997.

Another law, Republic Act 10368 (Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013), provides monetary and nonmonetary reparation to human rights victims.

The World Bank-UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. started accumulating ill-gotten wealth from the Philippine government in his first year of presidency in 1965. He was ousted by the Edsa People Power Revolution in 1986.

Sources: ( , )

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