Bongbong Marcos: It's a 'scam'
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna (2nd UPDATE) - A few thousand people from all over Luzon showed up at the University of the Philippines campus here Saturday morning saying they were promised cash from a cooperative that allegedly had access to the wealth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The UPLB Baker Field was packed by people who came from neighboring provinces as well as Metro Manila, with virtually every person clutching a booklet featuring Marcos' face.
A peek into the booklet revealed that it discusses "The Life and Achievements of Ferdinand E. Marcos." The back bore the words "Bullion Buyer LTD."
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, the chairman of the "One Social Family Credit Cooperative" (OSFCC) who refused to be identified or photographed said that the booklet contains “all the achievements of President Marcos during his time.”
Notably, the gathering happened just two days after the 45th anniversary of Marcos' declaration of martial rule, when various militant and civil society groups marked a National Day of Protest to remember victims of abuses during the dictator's repressive regime.
A source said some who turned up have been at the campus grounds as early as 3:50 a.m. and were told to bring the pamphlet to receive money.
A woman who came all the way from Malabon said she attended the event because they were told that Marcos' money will be given to them.
“Ipapamigay daw ang pera ni Marcos,” she said.
Video by Camille Naredo, ABS-CBN News
Video by Camille Naredo, ABS-CBN News
MONEY FROM MARCOS' 'IMMORTAL LEGACY' and 'JAPANESE TREASURES?'
One coordinator from Cavite told ABS-CBN News that they were there for the "One Social Family Credit Cooperative."
Speaking to ABS-CBN, a man who introduced himself as the OSFCC chairman but declined to give his name said the funds were from the “immortal legacy of President Marcos” as well as "treasures buried here by Japanese imperial forces" that the late strongman "was able to acquire."
The chairman also said that beneficiaries of the OSFCC would need to undergo livelihood seminars on home industries, agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, or others to get their funds.
He added that, as the funds would be sourced allegedly from the government, beneficiaries would be able to get their shares at Landbank.
“When they have the certificate, then we will dole out the money. They will be the stockholders for that particular livelihood. Sa Landbank [makukuha ang pera], government eh,” he said.
Despite attributing the money to the late president, he clarified that Marcos' son, former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, had nothing to do with the gathering.
"We do not engage in any political activity whatsoever. This is Marcos wealth. Bongbong has nothing do do with this because the tasking of Bongbong is for political purpose only," he said.
In a statement, Bongbong Marcos denied that the family had anything to do with the gathering, called the cash promise a scam.
"Paulit-ulit ko na pong binalaan ang publiko na huwag magpapadala sa mga ganitong klase ng panloloko na ang intensyon lamang ay para sa kanilang personal na interes. Ang pagtitipon sa UPLB ay isa na namang ehemplo ng ganyang panloloko," he said.
In a statement, Dr. Serlie B. Jamias, UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, said the university approved the request of Jeffrey S. Fortuna, National Inspectorate and Cooperative Secretariat of the OSFCC, to hold a general assembly at the lower field managed by the UPLB Department of Human Kinetics.
This was not new, she said, because the university had in the past approved gatherings by other groups such as the Lumads, peasants, Boy Scouts, and others, in the spirit of "community sharing."
However, the assembly spilled all the way out to the Upper Field, the D.L. Umali Hall, and even the Carabao Park near the perimeter of the campus.
UPLB Campus Police refused to give a statement on the assembly, other than to confirm that they were informed it would take place. The UPLB Reserve Officers' Training Corps, however, were caught off guard by the assembly, particularly of its magnitude.
Organizers of the assembly spoke at the Baker Field Grandstand, touting Marcos' achievements. Later, one speaker promised that members of the cooperative would receive P10,000 per month.
Another speaker revealed that the money would come from the gold bars acquired by the late dictator, supposedly for services to the "royal family."
OSFCC’s chairman claimed that his group is registered and is a “legitimate humanitarian based cooperative” which is affiliated with Bullion Buyer Ltd.
In March 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Bullion Buyer Ltd is not a registered firm. The entity supposedly requires members to pay P30 in exchange for the P10,000 per month grant, as well as to recruit other beneficiaries.
A SunStar Pangasinan report in February 2017 revealed that two women had already been arrested in Brgy. Anolid in the town of Mangaldan for recruiting three other people to join Bullion Buyer Ltd.