Colmenares to Marcoses: You can't steal billions, then return mere millions

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2017 11:48 AM

MANILA - Bayan Muna Chair Neri Colmenares rejected Wednesday an offer of the family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to turn over some of their wealth to the government, saying these only make up a small fraction of what they allegedly looted from public coffers.

"Hindi puwedeng may ill-gotten wealth na $10 billion o $8 billion, magsauli ka ng $100 million tapos okay na tayo. E di lahat na lang ng public officials, yun ang gawin," Colmenares told radio DZMM.

"Lugi talaga rin tayo dyan."

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said the Marcos family has expressed willingness to "open everything and hopefully return" some of their wealth, including several gold bars.

Duterte did not say the worth of the funds that will be returned.

For 30 years, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) was able to recover P170.7 billion or $3.7 billion, accounting for almost half of the $ 5 to 10 billion allegedly stolen by the Marcoses and their allies.

Colmenares, who suffered human rights abuses under Marcos' martial rule, said the late dictator and his family have never admitted to amassing ill-gotten wealth so any funds they give the government would be a "donation."

"Parang kawang-gawa. Ang galing-galing naman nila, tumulong pa... Parang nagnakaw ng 10 milyon sayo, sabihin 'Bayaran ko ng P100,000 iyung hospital bill mo, pasalamat ka sa akin.' E ninakaw mo iyung P10 milllion ko kaya ako nagkahirap-hirap dito e," he said.

Colmenares added that more than turning over money to the government, the Marcoses should acknowledge and apologize for the massive corruption and rampant rights violations under their rule.

"Okay lang bang sabihin nila na 'mag-move on tayo, wala naman actually nangyaring human rights violation noong martial law.' Parang sinungaling lahat ng biktima ng mga human rights violation," he said.

"Hindi lang ito issue ng pera -- issue ito ng justice, katarungan at kasaysayan. President Duterte should remember na hindi lang ito limited doon."