‘FM heirs to return hidden wealth’

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said the family of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos has expressed readiness to surrender the billions in alleged ill-gotten wealth, including a few gold bars.

“The Marcoses–I will not name the spokesman, they expressed that they’ll open everything and probably return whatever was already seen,” the President said in his speech before newly appointed government officials at Malacañang.

Duterte said the Marcoses told him that the late dictator stashed away billions in government funds “to protect the economy” and that he had thought of regaining Malacañang.

“I will accept the explanation, whether or not it is true,” Duterte said. “And they are ready to return [the government funds].”

President Rodrigo Duterte

Marcos, who ruled the country from 1965 to 1986, had amassed a fortune of $5 billion to $10 billion while in office, or up to 650 times more than his annual salary, based on an estimate by the Supreme Court and source documents provided by the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

Over the last 30 years, the government has recovered at least P170 billion (nearly $3.6 billion) in cash but the total recovery efforts could reach over P200 billion ($4.2 billion), as the PCGG winds up its work to sell the remaining illegally acquired assets in its possession.

Members of the Marcos family still remains active in politics―his wife, Imelda is Ilocos Norte representative while daughter Imee is incumbent Ilocos Norte governor. His son and namesake, Ferdinand Jr., is contesting the results of the recent vice presidential race.

The President claimed that the Marcoses made the offer to help him deal with budget deficits.

To jump-start the recovery of ill-gotten wealth, Duterte said he is eyeing at someone “not identified with anybody to handle the negotiations.”

“I’m looking at a former Chief Justice. They can talk,” he said.

He said he was happy the Marcoses decided to “come clean and make something that is really worthwhile for the Filipinos.” 

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