Speaker wants Marcoses to ‘return everything’

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WHILE WELCOMING the purported offer of the family of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr. to turn over part of their wealth to the government, House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez said they should return everything plundered during the 14-year dictatorship.

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former First Lady now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos offers prayers at the tomb of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani in Taguig City on National Heroes Day. — PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

Meanwhile, at the Department of Justice (DoJ) also on Wednesday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II said the DoJ is looking into ways to retrieve the “few gold bars” being offered by the Marcos family, as claimed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last Tuesday.

Mr. Duterte is a known ally of the Marcoses and has repeatedly expressed admiration for the late strongman, even allowing Mr. Marcos’s burial at the Heroes’ Cemetery last November, amid protests by survivors of his dictatorship and other sectors.

For his part Mr. Alvarez, a leading ally of Mr. Duterte, said of the Marcos family’s reported offer: “Magandang development ‘yan, pero ‘wag sana iyong kapiraso lang, sana iyong buo na (That’s a good development, but it shouldn’t be partial but in full).”

Opposition Representative Edcel C. Lagman of Albay, who lost a brother and was himself a victim of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, wants the dictator’s heirs to issue a categorical statement confirming what Mr. Duterte claimed, that they are willing to hand over the wealth, including “a few gold bars.” Mr. Lagman’s allies in the Liberal Party also issued statements critical of the reported offer by the Marcos family.

For his part, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, a law enforcer during martial law in the 1970s, said the gold bars mentioned by Mr. Duterte refer to gold certificates, photocopies of which, the senator said, “I remember a long time ago, Mrs. Marcos showed us.”

Mr. Aguirre, for his part, said, Mr. Duterte “has the power to make compromises, any agreement with the Marcoses,” whose patriarch, primarily, had been accused of plunder on the heels of his ouster from power in 1986.

But Mr. Aguirre, yesterday, clarified that the DoJ is still in the process of studying the offer. “I’m sure dapat pag-isipan ng husto yan — ano ba ang kakailanganin (we need to study that carefully — what do we need), do we need an enabling law, or…could we do it in just the present power of the President?Pag-aaralan muna (We will study it first),” he said. — reports by interaksyon.com and Kristine Joy V. Patag, with Mario M. Banzon



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