Robredo: No giving up pursuit for Marcos' ill-gotten wealth

ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo said the Philippine government should not stop running after the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

"Oo naman kasi atin iyon," said Robredo at the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) event at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Wednesday.

"Iyong kayamanan na iyon ay sa tao iyon at obligasyon ng gobyerno na habulin hanggang maibalik sa tunay na nagmamay-ari," Robredo added.

She told students that there must be a recognition of the wrongdoings done by former President Ferdinand Marcos. The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos is accused of plundering billions of dollars from state coffers during his reign.

Marcos' only son and namesake, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., is also running for vice president in the May 9, 2016 polls. The younger Marcos has refused to apologize for the various human rights violations done during his father's rule.

"Hindi lang po yung pagso-sorry pero ito yung pagkilala na meron talagang kamalian na nangyari. Yung refusal kasing mag-apologize, parang pagpapakita lang na walang acceptance na may masamang nangyari at ito yung nakakatakot. Kung walang acceptance na may maling nangyari, yung tendency na mangyayari ulit parating ganun. Kung walang acceptance, walang apology dun sa mga nangyari in the past, itanong natin sa sarili natin, hindi ba nag-a-apologize, hindi ba tinatanggap dahil yung paniniwala ay tama yung mga nangyari?" Robredo asked.

The younger Marcos was tied with Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero in the latest pre-election survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which was created to recover the money stolen by Marcos and his allies, has pledged to auction off as soon as possible the millions of dollars' worth of jewelry recovered from the late strongman and his family.

The long-hidden collection, seized in three batches after Marcos was overthrown in a popular revolt in 1986, has been cited by critics as proof of how his family enriched itself while the nation sank deeper into poverty during his 20 years in power.

Former first lady Imelda Marcos amassed a huge collection of jewels, valuable art and shoes even as other Marcos relatives and allies gained fortunes, critics have said.

PCGG commissioner Andrew de Castro said appraisals by auction houses put the value of the seized jewelry at more than a billion pesos ($21 million).

The younger Marcos, for his part, said they will not stop the auction of the jewelry.

He, however, said he doubts the PCGG's campaign, claiming that politics is behind its efforts to locate priceless artworks that his family is believed to have obtained during the dictatorship.

READ: Filipinos have a good sense of history - Marcos

NO EMPTY PROMISES

Meanwhile, in her speech, Robredo, who is running with administration standard bearer Mar Roxas, vowed that their promises of reform are not just empty promises.

"Alam ninyo po, pag panahon ng eleksiyon, napakadali lang sa aming kandidato na tutuparin namin dahil iyon ang gusto ninyong marinig. Pero palagay ko po, iyong pinakamahalagang sukat, tingnan niyo po ang posisyon namin sa maraming isyu sa nakaraan, noong hindi pa kami kandidato," she said.

"Madalas po nating nakikita na pagkatapos ng eleksiyon, nagkakalimutan na. Papaano po ang garantiya na hindi makakalimutan? Iyong garantiya, doon po ang basic na paniniwala namin bilang mga lingkod-bayan.

"Ano ba iyong mula sa sapul pa, ano ba ang aming pinaniwalaan? Ano ba ang aming mga ginawa kahit noong hindi pa kami kandidato para kayo maniwala lahat? Ito naman po, iyong pagsabi po sa amin, hindi po kami mangangako ng kahit ano. Pero pangako lang po namin at paghihingi po ng tulong sa inyo, aralin ninyo po ang aming pinagdaanan. Aralin ninyo po ang posisyon na aming tinayuan para po kayo maniniwala kung gagawin namin iyong inyong hinihingi o hindi."

Robredo went on to cite what she has done in Congress before she decided to run for the country's second top post.

She noted that she co-authored the freedom of information (FOI) bill and also the proposed anti-political dynasty law, which, she said, is now on second reading.

"Medyo iyayabang ko lang po nang kaunti, kasi iyong version namin na mukhang iyon ang na-adopt ng Committee, ibang iba po ito sa traditional version ng FOI. Dahil po iyong traditional version ng FOI, ang sinasabi po, pag may request ng information sa gobyerno, obligasyon ng gobyerno to give in to the request.

"Pero iyong amin pong version sa House na nilabas sa Committee level, hindi na po demand driven kundi supply driven sa pag-iisip na ang pinakadahilan ng FOI ay empowerment. Iyong amin pong version sa House, kahit walang request for information, obligasyon na ng gobyerno na to make public all relevant information. Sana po maipasa ito," she said.

She said she also co-authored the bill seeking to institutionalize the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and also the Coconut Farmers Trust Fund Bill and the National Land Use Act.

"Ngayon pong darating na eleksiyon, ang kapangyarihan po nasa kamay ninyong lahat, wala po sa amin. Iyong kapangyarihan pong pumili ng mga susunod na lider, nasa inyo pong lahat, wala sa amin.
Isa lang po kami sa kaunting mga boses. Kami po ni Sec. Mar Roxas, nandito lang po kami para ilahad iyong aming paniniwala sa inyong lahat pero ang pagdedesisyon po nasa inyong lahat. Kaya sana po, hindi po natin sayangin ang pagkakataong ito. Sana po iyong ating pagboto, titingnan po natin sino ang nasa posisyon na gawin ito," said Robredo. - With a report from Agence France-Presse