Cartoon by Roni Santiago

The cat is now out of the bag.

The Marcoses finally admitted they have hidden wealth taken from the government and are willing to return the wealth through President Duterte.

Last Aug. 30, Duterte announced that the Marcos family is willing to “open everything” and “return” to the government some wealth in question, including a few gold bars.

“The Marcoses — I will not name the spokesman — sabi nila na they’ll open everything and probably return ‘yung nakita lang,” Duterte said.

“Sabi nila na, ‘malaki ang deficit mo sa… maybe this year, ang projected deficit spending would be big,’ sabi niya. Baka makatulong. Pero hindi ito malaki,” he said.

The President likewise said that an explanation was given by the Marcoses for the wealth in question and that he was accepting the explanation.

“And the only reason really was sabi nila, that the father (former President Marcos) was protecting the economy. Now, of course, kung maalis siya. But he had thought of regaining Malacañang, and that is why ganito ang lumabas. Parang naitago,” he said.

“I will accept the explanation, whether or not it is true. And they are ready to return. How much? They would give me an accounting,” Duterte said.

At present there are no negotiations yet on the purported plan to return the Marcos wealth to the government.

Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos expressed trust in President Duterte that he will help end the decades-old cases against the Marcoses.

“Tiwala kami sa president, na siya ang makakapagtapos ng deka-dekadang kaso,” Imee told reporters in the House of Representatives.

We welcome this development in the efforts to recover the wealth that properly belongs to the government. This is an issue that has besmirched the reputation of the Marcoses and plagued the body politics.

One thorny problem, though, is how much is this hidden wealth. President Duterte had said that it is not big and that there will be an accounting. As far as we know there is no government record on how much had been stolen during the Marcos regime.

Even the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which the late President Cory Aquino tasked to recover the wealth stolen by Marcos and his cronies, was not able to establish how much was purloined.

And because there is no data on the amount of the wealth, the government will just be relying on the words of the Marcoses and/or their lawyers.

We also take issue with the explanation that the reason Marcos hid the wealth was to protect the economy and would return it upon his return to power.

This explanation is peppered with so many loopholes you can see through it. Even the Marines would not buy it.


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