Ex PCGG head: Even as president, Marcos must still face legal issues

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2022 02:24 AM | Updated as of May 12 2022 08:36 AM

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MANILA – Even though the only son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. has won the 2022 presidential elections, the presumptive Chief Executive must answer for the legal cases filed against him and his family, an ex-senior official said.

Former Presidential Commission on Good Government head Ruben Carranza said Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. – whose family's estate tax has "ballooned to some P203 billion since 1997 due to interest" –cannot avoid his kin's legal issues. 

In 1997, the Supreme Court affirmed a Court of Appeals ruling that declared the Marcoses’ estate to have a tax deficiency of P23 billion. 

Two years prior, Marcos Jr. was convicted for failing to file mandatory income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 when he was governor and vice governor of Ilocos Norte. 

"Kung siya na ang mapo-proklama na presidente, wala siyang choice but to answer – not just questions – but to answer litigation cases that are still pending him and his family," Carranza told TeleRadyo on Wednesday.

The presumptive President – who was leading the 2022 presidential race with more than double the 14.8 million tally of his closest rival Vice President Leni Robredo – maybe immune from legal charges in the future, but his family will be not, Carranza said.

"'Yung immunity from suit, ibig lang sabihin habang presidente siya. Before he becomes president, and after he becomes president, his personal liability will resume. This will not cover – and there's an argument – na hindi kasama sa immunity na 'yan ang human rights violations, crimes against humanity kung sakaling gagawin niya," the former PCGG official said.

Carranza cited the case of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, whose bloody war on drugs is the subject of the International Criminal Court's suspended probe into alleged crimes against humanity.

Marcos Sr. and his family were deposed in 1986 following a decades-long rule marred by human rights abuses, killings, and corruption.

He, his widow Imelda, and their cronies were estimated to have stolen as much as $10 billion from state coffers during his 20-year rule.

Last September, the Sandiganbayan ordered a bank to pay the government around P96 million and $5.4 million, which it said were the value of bank certificates recovered from the Marcoses when they landed in Hawaii in 1986.

Nearly 40 years after Manila began hunting for the billions of dollars plundered during Marcos's regime, much of the loot is still missing and no one in the family has been jailed.

Despite court rulings and legal documents from relevant government agencies, Marcos Jr. has claimed issues regarding his family's ill-gotten wealth and estate tax liabilities involved "a lot of fake news".