OPINION: Duterte echoes Imee Marcos’ line

Ellen Tordesillas

Posted at Mar 03 2019 11:25 PM

In front of an impressionable audience, Pres. Duterte usually gets carried away with his story-telling and says things that are false and vulgar.

Spewing out false claims has become a standard practice for Duterte. I think it has come to a point when he believes his own lies.

That is dangerous because he is president and many of his statements are bases of government policies. The most glaring example is his figures on the number of drug addicts in the country, which is his justification for his brutal anti-drug war which has killed thousands. At the start of his presidency, he said there were three million drug addicts in the country. Then it became four million. Yet, the Dangerous Drug Board reported in 2016 only 1.8 million drug addicts in the country.

Last Tuesday, without citing any official source, Duterte said, “Estimate ko, it’s about 7 million.”

He must have been in his element last Tuesday speaking for two-and-a-half hours at the general assembly of the League of Municipalities in the Philippines at the Manila Hotel that he made several false claims, many of them he has said several times in the past.

But the one that riled up many, especially human rights advocates, was his statement that nothing has been proven about Marcos' ill-gotten wealth.

In front of Imee Marcos, the late strongman’s daughter whom he is endorsing for senator, Duterte said: "What they want to say is that Marcos was a dictator, that he stole ano... Until now you have not proven anything except to sequester and sell. Hindi mo nga sigurado kung talagang kay Marcos ba 'yan (You are not even sure if that really belongs to Marcos)."

Actually, that is Imee’s line.

Last October, when she filed her certificate of candidacy for senator at the Commission on Elections in Intramuros, she was asked by a reporter about allegations that her father amassed $10 billion during his more than 20 years in power.

Imee replied: “As we all know, these are political accusations that have not been proven in court.”

VERA Files fact-checked Imee’s claim and here’s what’s in official records:

“The ill-gotten wealth issue has been extensively documented by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which was established soon after the EDSA 1986 People Power Revolution that overthrew Marcos.

“In 2014, PCGG disclosed the recovery of a residual amount of $29 million, including interest, from part of Marcos Swiss Bank deposits in two West Landesbank accounts in Singapore that have been frozen since 2003, bringing the amount recovered from the Marcos Swiss accounts so far to $687 million.

“Republic Act No. 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, provides that compensation for martial law era human rights victims was to be sourced from P10 billion Marcos ill-gotten wealth that was transferred to the Philippine government through the Dec. 10, 1997 ruling of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.”

It is interesting to note that the 100-page Supreme Court decision in July 2003 awarding to the Philippine government the frozen Swiss bank deposits identified to be owned by Marcos amounting to $658 million as of Jan. 31, 2002 was penned by Justice Renato Corona.

Corona, who was ousted as chief justice during the Aquino administration, said the Marcoses failed to justify that they lawfully acquired the Swiss deposits.

The same fact-check applies to Duterte’s echo of Imee’s statement.

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