MANILA – Vice-presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. on Thursday admitted that his family is active in blocking the forfeiture of some 200 missing artworks being sought by the government.
Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the late Philippine dictator, said his family is blocking the forfeiture of the artworks since this was not the subject of any court order.
"Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa maayos ang status noon. Hindi maliwanag ang status noon. Kasi ni-raid mga bahay namin, yung mga artwork na iyan was not a subject of any court case,'' the leading vice-presidential contender told reporters in Misamis Oriental.
''Basta kinuha na lang nila, pinasok kami, walang order ng kahit anong court, walang kasong pinagbabasehan ang kanilang pagkumpiska kaya namin nilalabanan."
The Presidential Commission on Good Government, formed by the late former president Corazon Aquino to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies, has put up a website to tap the public in its efforts to recover the paintings, some made by masters like Michaelangelo, Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and Rembrandt.
The PCGG has also finished having the Marcos jewelry appraised.
READ: Confiscated Marcos jewelry now worth P1B
In the press conference, Marcos also reiterated his stand that the reparation case by Martial Law victims is now a matter between the national government and the claimants.
"Ilang taon na kami hindi nagpapadala ng abogado doon sa kaso sa pagbayad sa human rights claimants. It is a case between the government and the claimants,'' he said.
''The Marcos family is not a party to that legal action. That's a different case (from the artwork issue). Basta't yung hawak ng gobyerno na assets na kine-claim ng human rights ayaw ibigay ng gobyerno, wala kami control doon."
During the vice-presidential debate hosted by the Commission on Elections, Marcos's rival Leni Robredo of the Liberal Party said the compensation for the 75,000 claimants should be sourced from the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
READ: Cayetano attacks Bongbong on ill-gotten wealth
Marcos, however, said ''I cannot give what I do not have."
The Marcos family has long been dogged by accusations the dictator oversaw massive human rights abuses and plundered billions of dollars from state coffers until a famous "people power" revolt toppled him from power in 1986.
Human rights groups say tens of thousands endured torture and imprisonment during the elder Marcos's 20-year rule.
After the Marcos patriarch died in exile in Hawaii in 1989, the family returned to the country in 1991 and began a successful political comeback, culminating in Bongbong Marcos getting elected to the Senate in 2010.
The younger Marcos has been criticized for refusing to apologize for the injustices committed during his father's dictatorship.
READ: Bongbong on Marcos era: What am I to say sorry for?
Marcos denies his family stole from government coffers and insists his father's rule was one of peace and progress.