MANILA, Philippines - Militant group Bayan Muna is strongly opposing a fresh attempt by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to work out a "universal settlement" with the Marcoses on their alleged ill-gotten wealth.
The group on Monday draped the "Bantayog ng mga Bayani" monument with black cloth to symbolize their extreme disappointment over the PCGG's move, and called for the agency's abolition.
The group, which includes human rights victims during the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos, also threatened to question any settlement between the government and the Marcos family before the Supreme Court.
Bayan Muna said the timing of the negotiations was suspicious, with the Arroyo government's term about to expire in June.
"Nagmamadali sila dahil patapos na termino. Dapat ipasa na lang 'yan ni Arroyo sa susunod na pangulo. (They are in a hurry because the Arroyo government's term is ending. The President should just leave the matter up to her successor.) The government shouldn't make money out of this," said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.
Colmenares said they would campaign against Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, son of late dictator who is running for senator under the Nacionalista Party (NP), where Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo also belongs to.
PCGG Commissioner Ricardo Abcede, for his part, insisted it would be better to strike a deal with the Marcoses over their wealth than pursue the more than 500 pending civil cases against them.
"Nakikipag-usap nga tayo sa mga MILF, Abu Sayyaf, Bakit hindi sa mga Marcoses? (We are negotiating with rebel groups MILF, Abu Sayyaf, why not with the Marcoses?) Mrs. Marcos is 80 years old, what's the point of sending her to jail?" he said.
Meantime, NP standard-bearer Senator Manuel "Manny" Villar defended the young Marcos, saying the issue on the settlement of their accumulated wealth was just black propaganda.
"Bakit ngayon inilabas yan? Baka black propaganda lang ito laban kay Bongbong (Why did the issue come out just now? This is just black propaganda against Bongbong)," Villar said. - Report from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News