Skip to comments.So, is Marcos money intact?
Posted on 02/08/2005 7:27:04 PM PST by nickcarraway
SO WHERE'S the Marcos loot? Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano posed this question as he challenged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to show proof that the $683 million in recovered assets of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was still intact.
"The multimillion-dollar question is: 'Is the ill-gotten wealth still intact? Where is it?'" Mariano asked.
In a statement, Mariano said the President was turning the victims of Marcos atrocities into treasure hunters "looking and waiting for luck."
He said part of the money might have been used for the campaign of Ms Arroyo in the 2004 presidential election.
"We will not stoop to that kind of allegation," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a phone interview when asked to comment on Mariano's challenge.
Bunye dismissed Mariano's call, saying the President gave a commitment to set aside $200 million from the $683 million for the compensation of the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime.
The government cannot give the compensation until the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), which requires that all recovered ill-gotten Marcos wealth be spent on land reform, is amended.
In 1998, the Marcos assets were transferred from Swiss banks to an escrow account in Philippine National Bank.
The Supreme Court had ruled that the money was ill-gotten and forfeited it in favor of the government.
Bureau of Treasury
In March 2004, then Agrarian Reform Secretary Jose Marie Ponce announced that $624 million of the amount was already with the Bureau of Treasury and was to be used for land reform.
"Even the amounts are deceiving," Mariano said. "$683 million was transferred to PNB. When it goes to the Bureau of Treasury, it was already reduced to $624 million."
Mariano said he had reason to believe the money did not go to land reform at all.
He said an agreement dated Jan. 30, 2004, was entered into by the Bureau of Treasury then headed by Eduardo Sergio Edeza with the PNB, whose Trust Banking Group was appointed custodian of the funds.
However, the agreement was terminated in March of the same year, said Mina Figueroa, the new national treasurer.
Bank in Singapore
PNB president Lorenzo Tan said the money was "handed to the national treasury already except for some funds stuck with West LB Singapore."
Marilen Sarmiento, head of the PNB trust department, said about $25 million was still with West LB Singapore because of an interpleader case. When PNB was withdrawing the money, West LB decided to leave to a Singaporean court the decision to identify the parties entitled to the fund. Others are claiming it.
30-M retention fund
Sarmiento said there was also $30 million to $35 million in a retention fund. Under the escrow agreement, the amount is for whatever litigation expenses that will be incurred.
Once the case is settled, the remaining funds will be given back to the national treasury, she said.
House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles was quick to defend Malacañang from charges that it was shortchanging victims of human rights abuses of their rightful compensation.
Nograles chided Senator Joker Arroyo for insinuating that P3 billion of the promised P11 billion ($200 million) to be given the victims was missing just because Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye had erred in saying that the amount promised was P8 billion.
Nograles said the President had shown resolve to compensate the victims.
"We cannot just take the money out of an ATM machine. But Senator Joker knows that the Arroyo administration is committed to compensate the human rights victims for the brutality suffered under Marcos," he said.
Bacolod City Representative Monico Puentevella assured members of Congress, some of whom were also victims of human rights violations during martial law, that a compensation bill, now on second reading, would be passed by Congress.
Puentevella agreed that the indemnification of victims was a "necessary part of the justice that they have been seeking."
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said claimants would not be left with an empty bag following the decision of a United States appeals court upholding the Philippine Supreme Court's ruling forfeiting the Marcos money to the government.
Lagman said the victims' right to compensation was guaranteed by the Constitution in the Bill of Rights and in the article prescribing the powers of the Commission on Human Rights.
Because these constitutional provisions are not self-implementing, there is a need for Congress to enact a law providing for compensation.
18 years later ...
The compensation bill, if enacted into law, will amend CARL, which provides that all recovered ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses should go to land reform.
"What is inordinately traumatizing is 18 years after the expulsion of the Marcos dictatorship, justice still eludes thousands of desaparecidos (disappeared), torture victims, the maimed and the dead who fought the tyrant," Lagman said. Reports from Cynthia D. Balana and Juliet Labog-Javellana
What's Imelda up to these days.....or is she even alive?
She was last seen at the shoe store adding to her collection. Seriesly she is alive last I heard.
She was elected to the House of Rep. in 1995 (Leyte Province). Perhaps she's building another coconut house for the Pope? LOL.