MANILA - A deal for the return of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses may face legal hurdles as it could violate the principle of equal protection of the laws guaranteed under the Constitution, the President's spokesman said Tuesday.
Harry Roque, a lawyer by profession, said this after lawyer Oliver Lozano, a supporter of the Marcos family, submitted to Malacañang a draft proposal for the return of a part of the Marcoses’ wealth to the government.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo confirmed receiving the proposal but denied that the Palace has acted on it. Roque, likewise, said no compromise agreement has been reached between the government and the Marcoses.
Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, the only son and namesake of the late dictator, also denied knowledge of the supposed deal.
In a radio interview, Roque said while President Rodrigo Duterte stressed that congressional approval is needed for the deal to push through, it may face challenges as it could violate the equal protection clause.
“Malinaw po ang Presidente, hindi po iyan desisyon ng Presidente lamang, iyan po ay desisyon ng Kongreso dahil mayroon po tayong mga batas na nagpapataw ng parusa kapag ho to ay guilty ng pandarambong ‘no. So iyan po ay nasa hurisdiksyon ng Kongreso,” Roque said.
“Pero marami pong pagsubok diyan para magkaroon ng ganiyang batas at hindi naman pupuwede na magkaroon ng batas para sa mga Marcoses lamang. Iyan po ay lalabag doon sa tinatawag nating equal protection law.”
It was Duterte, a friend of the Marcoses, who first raised the possibility of striking a deal with the family for the return of a portion of their ill-gotten wealth.
He also said the Marcoses would not return the wealth without immunity.