After calling him ‘spoiled, weak,’ Duterte clears Marcos on ill-gotten wealth
MANILA – Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has lived a “simple life” and his family’s ill-gotten wealth was not really proven, said President Rodrigo Duterte months after he called the late dictator’s son a “weak leader.”
Duterte said he remembered Bongbong as a candidate who used to “ride” with him in previous campaigns, most especially when he was still a senator.
“Alam mo iyong kampanya sa pagka-senador, nakikisakay lang iyan sya sa akin… Kung may pera sya noon o wala, magtataka kami … Walang pera ito, wala. Simula noong, wala naman – simple living lang iyan siya, wala siya ‘yung sabihin mo talaga, “Duterte told Pastor Apollo Quiboloy in a taped interview aired on Friday.
“Iyong pera ninakaw eh hanggang ngayon, wala naman silang nakita. Ito kung maniwala kayo, kung hindi, okay lang. Marcos, may kaunting perang naiwan, na-sequester lahat eh, pati iyong sa Switzerland,” he added.
“Hindi naman siya mapagkakatiwalaan ng bilyon-bilyon. Bata pa siya noon eh. Of course, ininherit nila ‘yan but that would be a very very tedious process,” Duterte said. Marcos Jr. however he was already 29 years old when his father, dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was removed from office.
Duterte’s recent statement is a far cry from what he said in November, when he called Marcos Jr. a “spoiled and weak” leader. “Hindi ako bilib sa kaniya.”
Contrary to Duterte’s claim, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) – an agency tasked to go after what the Marcos family plundered – has recovered more than P170 billion of the Marcos family’s estimated $ 10 billion in ill-gotten wealth.
The Marcos family has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Matriarch Imelda has been found guilty of several counts of graft in lower courts, but has won most of her appeals in higher courts. None of the members of the former first family has been imprisoned.
But the Philippine Supreme Court ruled in 2003, 2012 and 2017 that Ferdinand Marcos and his family were guilty of large-scale fraud.
On July 15, 2003, the court ruled that Marcos Swiss bank account deposits amounting to more than US $ 658 million as of January 31, 2002 was forfeited to the Philippine government.
The Philippine government implemented the total deposits were “patently disproportionate” to the Marcos ’salaries as public officials, the court said.
In a court ruling on April 25, 2012, the Marcos family were also ordered to pay back more than US $ 3 million to the state.
On January 18, 2017, the court also affirmed a Sandiganbayan judgment which forfeited to the state pieces of jewelry recovered from the Marcoses called the “Malacañang Collection.”
Based on data gathered by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, Marcos Jr. declared a net worth of P211 million in his 2015 SALN — his last SALN that ABS-CBN News obtained before he became a private citizen in 2016.
His assets included a vast number of real properties in Laguna, Benguet, Ilocos Norte, Taguig City, and Mandaluyong City, all of which amounted to more than P66.6 million as of December 2015.
However, a condo unit located in Ayala Avenue, Makati City, which he listed as “investments” under “personal properties,” was valued at P78 million –P11 million more than the value of all its listed real properties combined.
Aside from this, the Marcos family owes the government some P203 billion worth of estate taxes. Duterte’s acting spokesperson Martin Andanar said the Bureau of Internal Revenue has already been tasked to go after this.
He was also convicted in 1995 for failing to file mandatory income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 when he was governor and vice governor of Ilocos Norte.
Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is running in tandem with Marcos, Jr. The President’s PDP-Laban faction, which was initially created to fight the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., is backing the two candidates’ election bid next week.
He is the only presidential contender this year who faced disqualification cases at the Commission of Elections (Comelec).
Duterte this week said he would not endorse any presidential candidate even “until December” this year.
– With reports from Agence France-Presse