Imee mum on return of Marcos wealth, wants end to all charges

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2017 11:30 AM

Imee pins hopes on Duterte to end all charges vs Marcoses

MANILA - Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos on Tuesday kept mum about the possible return of the family's ill-gotten wealth to the government, saying there are no formal negotiations about the matter.

"Wala pa, wala pa. Tiwala kami sa President na siya ang makakapagtapos ng deka-dekadang kaso at yung pamilya nag-uusap pa pero nasa kamay ng mga abogado,” she said when asked if negotiations have started about the return of the Marcos wealth.

Asked if there was an intention to return, the governor said: "Pag-usapan na lang ng mga abogado.”

The governor refused to take any more questions, advising media to instead wait for the statement of their legal counsel.

President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday the Marcos family was willing to return gold bars and a part of their alleged hidden wealth, citing an emissary who said the riches were taken only to secure the Philippine economy at the time.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government, which was set up three decades ago to recover the estimated $10 billion looted by the dictator and his allies during his 20 years in power, has already recovered 170 billion pesos or about $3.4 billion in ill-gotten wealth as well as jewelry, art and other assets from the Marcoses.

The government is still pursuing 248 cases against the Marcoses and their alleged cronies in various courts, with some appeals pending before the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza recalled a conversation with former first lady Imelda Marcos that she was willing to return 7,000 tons of gold.

“Sabi niya gusto ko ibalik yung gold dito at bigay sa gobyerno…sabi niya humahadlang ang isang superpower. Di namin maigalaw ang gold. Ano ba estimate? Something like 7,000 tons," he said.

"Kung mag-succeed si President Duterte, pakinabangan ng bansa itong gintong ito," he added.

The Ilocos Norte Governor, however, evaded questions about the gold cache.

"Hindi ko alam. I think it’s best that the lawyer respond to all these queries. Thank you," she told reporters before her appearance at a congressional probe on the alleged misuse of tobacco excise tax funds by her provincial government.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, for his part, said if the Marcoses do return the allegedly stolen wealth, they have to return everything. However, he pointed out that the true value of the alleged ill gotten wealth has not been determined by the PCGG.

“Yun nga problema ng PCGG. Hanggang ngayon ay ang dami pa ring kasong walang nangyayari, kaya nga merong proposal to abolish PCGG," he said.

Duterte had also said he wants to abolish the PCGG, the agency tasked to recover the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth, and replace it with a new anti-graft body.

Alvarez has filed a bill to put PCGG under the Office of the Solicitor General.

The Speaker said he is open to a congressional probe to ascertain the amount of wealth the Marcoses allegedly stole in their 20 years in power.