President Duterte said yesterday that he would defer to the Department of Finance (DOF) on the reported offer of the Marcos family to return a portion of wealth amassed during the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
According to Duterte, his “acceptance” of the alleged offer made through Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, does not mean a final decision on the issue of ill-gotten wealth.
Duterte said that the next move is up to Congress, or at least the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“It has to be the law. And the law must come from Congress, not from me. I cannot say with finality na ito, ito ang nangyari. Because there are so many stages yan,” Duterte said.
Duterte said Congress must authorize the government, through a legislative measure, whether to accept the offer to return a portion of the wealth to the Philippine government.
Duterte said that the Marcos family said that they wanted “closure” on the issues surrounding the wealth.
However, Duterte declared categorically that there was no admission regarding the wealth. “She’s not ready to announce na ninakaw yang perang yan,” he said.
But he said that the family was willing to discuss the wealth that is suspected to be ill-gotten. “That, I accepted. But when the proceeding should begin, we should start with Congress. It’s the people who would decide it, through their representatives.,” the Presiden said.
Duterte added that it would be up to the Department of Justice whether to pursue any case afterwards.
Last week, Malacañang announced that the Marcos family was hoping to put the issue on their wealth to rest by returning it to the national government.
President Duterte said that he has responded to the Marcos family’s offer to return the wealth to the government because “it’s time to finally lay the issue to rest.”
In an interview in Davao City past midnight last Sunday, the President said he discussed the return of the questioned wealth with Gov. Marcos.
“The Marcoses are ready to return. I accept the explanation because there is no other explanation. I do not know anything, I cannot debate with them,” Duterte said.
“I accept the invitation – it’s finally time these things be finally accepted. I accepted lang na gusto na nilang makipag-areglo sa gobyerno para matapos na ang kaso (I accepted that they want to settle to finally lay the issue to rest),” he added.
The President told reporters in Davao City that it is now up to the government to decide if it would continue pursuing further cases against the Marcoses. “If the government decides to pursue, prosecution–that realm would belong to the Secretary of Justice,” Duterte said.
“Maybe there would be a compromise. Kung wala (if there is none), then you proceed,” he added.
He said the process on the return of the questioned wealth should start with a legislation from the Congress. “The President cannot [facilitate these things]. It has to be a law. And the law must come from Congress, not from me,” Duterte said.
Duterte criticized the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), specifically former Commissioner Ruben Carranza, for not taking up the offer.
“Itong si Carranza, hambog na hambog. Bakit meron na palang isinauli, so anong ginawa ninyo,” he said. “Just because you recovered a few millions there, sasabihin mo na nagtrabaho na kayo. Kulang ang trabaho ninyo (You are not working hard enough),” he added.
“Eh bakit hindi nakita nito ngayong ino-offer ni Imee ngayon na ibigay (Then why did this offer only surface now?” he continued.
The President also said that it’s none of his business whether the gesture from the Marcos family is meant to catapult their return to Malacañang with former Senator Bongbong Marcos running for office.
“Wala na akong pakialam diyan (I don’t care about that anymore). In five years, I will no longer be on the political scene,” he said.
Malacañang said that Duterte’s decision to announce the offer was spurred by the desire for transparency. “PRRD raised the issue of the Marcos wealth in his speech in the spirit of transparency,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
‘Ano ba talaga?’ – Leni
“Ano ba talaga? (What is it really?)” Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo asked yesterday after President Rodrigo Duterte and the Marcos family gave conflicting statements regarding the return of the latter’s wealth.
“Pinaka-problema do’n, matapos sabihin ng ating Pangulo, parang sinabi yata ng pamilyang Marcos hindi na nila iyon sinabi (The problem is after our President said it, it seems the Marcos family denied saying it),’ she said in her weekly radio program, “Biserbisyong Leni.”
“Noong sinabi ng Pangulo, kahit papaano napakatagal na tayo pinaghintay. Sabi natin, maigi pa rin ibabalik. Hindi lang konti, pero dapat lahat. Ngaun binawi na ulit. Wala na daw ganun pag-uusap (When it was said by the President, although we have somehow waited for so long, it is better they should return it. Not only some of it, but everything. Now they again said there was no such talk).”