Marcoses told: 'Isauli niyo ang ninakaw niyo'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2021 10:48 AM

 An activist holds a sign during a protest in commemoration of the anniversary of the 1972 Martial Law in Manila on September 21, 2021. Various groups marked the 49th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos with an outcry against the present government which they say has authoritarian tendencies and human rights violations. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News
An activist holds a sign during a protest in commemoration of the anniversary of the 1972 Martial Law in Manila on September 21, 2021. Various groups marked the 49th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos with an outcry against the present government which they say has authoritarian tendencies and human rights violations. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Marcos family's ill-gotten wealth could have been used for government's pandemic response, a former commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government said Wednesday.

Former PCGG commissioner Ruben Carranza made the remark after the son and namesake of dictator Ferdinand Marcos announced he would run for president in next year's elections.

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos' presidential bid could be an attempt not just to clear the family's name, as his mother was convicted in 2018 for plunder, but to "make sure their family keeps their impunity in place," Carranza said.

"The delay had taken its toll. Can you imagine if that 42 million dollars were available right now in a pandemic? How many vaccines can you buy if you had it recovered already," he told ANC's Headstart.

"These efforts by the Marcos family to prevent the recovery of ill-gotten assets have implications not just on corruption, not just in terms of accountability but on dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, in dealing with life or death situation for Filipinos who struggle to survive. The Marcoses are in many ways responsible for the deaths that have come out in the pandemic."

There was "no question" that the Marcoses committed corruption as the PCGG was created as a fact-finding body to retrieve their ill-gotten wealth, Carranza said.

"Marcos Jr running again is just another way to stop recovery, just another way for them to try to keep the money they took," he said.

"Recovering ill-gotten wealth isn't just about the past... it’s about finding money to deal with the pandemic. It's about holding the Marcoses accountable so that in the future other Marcoses, Marcos Jr for example, will not commit with impunity what his parents committed during their dictatorship."

Carranza said the Marcoses have a "network of banks and cronies" who continue to try to resist and prevent the Philippine government form getting back assets already surrendered or recovered.

"This is important because the Marcos family and Marcos Jr will fall back on this network in his campaign because they still have access to ill-gotten wealth themselves that can support the campaign of Marcos Jr.," he said.

"They had so much time to hide it, the fact that they're still hiding it means they could in fact be committing the continuing offense of money laundering. If I were in PCGG, in government, and I took my job seriously, I would try to have them investigated for money laundering."

Under Marcos' rule, the Philippine poverty rate rose from 41 percent in 1965 to 58.9 percent in 1985 - a year before his ouster. 

The Philippines' foreign debt also rose from $1 billion in 1965 - his first year in office - to $28 billion before the 1986 EDSA People Power revolt. 

From 1978-1991, the country’s debt stood at more than 200 percent of exports, peaking in 1985 during the last full year of Marcos.

Watch more on iWantTFC

 'Return what you have stolen'

Martial law survivor Joanna Cariño, then student activist who was imprisoned and tortured, said Marcos Jr's move to run for president was "unpalatable" and "a great insult to human rights victims."

"We see it in contempt and as a big insult to thousands of human rights victims of the Marcos dictatorship," she said.

Marcos Jr. "directly benefited" from his father's reign as dictator as he sat in many boards led by cronies and was commissioned in the Armed Forces, Cariño said.

"Their whole bid to return to Malacañang, their whole political shenanigans since they came back to the Philippines, this has been funded by ill-gotten wealth plundered from Philippine coffers," she said.

"They are using the money up to today. Isauli niyo muna ang mga ninakaw niyo (Return what you have stolen)."

Cariño also lamented that the Filipino youth are unaware of the Marcos dictatorship as it was not included in the country's curriculum.

"There is proof, the problem is human rights and martial law education has not been included in the education system is really very hard to understand seeing as how you had Corazon Aquino replacing the dictatorship and then again her son," she said.

"It should have been instituted in the Philippine education system as a fact of history, as a historical truth."

Watch more on iWantTFC