Martial law survivors see emerging scheme to recover Marcoses ill-gotten wealth

The dismissal of yet another corruption charge against the Marcoses is part of an emerging pattern to recover the family’s ill-gotten wealth, martial law survivors warned.

Following the affirmation by the Supreme Court (SC) of the September 2019 dismissal of the P1.05 billion civil forfeiture case, the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) said it may be a scheme by the family now that another Marcos is president.

Promulgated by the SC last March 29 but only publicly announced last Wednesday, the high court said there is no merit to the prosecutors’ review petition of Sandiganbayan decision that there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) filed the complaint in 1987 that sought to forfeit alleged illegally acquired properties by former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., his widow Imelda and cronies who acted as dummies to the couple.

CARMMA said the dismissal is deplorable, coming in the heels of other recent failed efforts such as:

1. The June 2023 Sandiganbayan dismissal of the P600 million civil forfeiture case involving Imelda, now President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and cronies;

2. The February 2023 Sandiganbayan Fifth Division dismissal of a civil case against the Marcoses and others in relation to more alleged ill-gotten wealth by the family; and

3. The July 2022 Sandiganbayan Fourth Division dismissal of the government’s lawsuit to recover P200 billion worth of assets and properties.

The group cited the PCGG’s declaration that at least USD6 billion worth of reported Marcos ill-gotten wealth have not been recovered, excluding the the P203 billion estate tax unpaid by the Marcoses. The family has appealed to the SC for the dismissal of the tax case.

CARMMA also said the dismissal of former BIR chief Lilia Guillermo is connected with the latter case after she expressed publicly that all Filipinos including presidents and the Marcoses are accountable in ensuring the payment of estate taxes.

“All these point to a disturbing picture of impunity and injustice in relation to the plundered wealth of the Marcoses and a grand heist being done in full view of the Filipino people to allow them to keep their loot and more opportunity to get their hands on the people’s money,” CARMMA said.

“We at CARMMA condemn these schemes and machinations. We demand the full return of the stolen funds by the Marcoses and that they be held fully accountable for the massive plunder and grave human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship,” the group added.

After being deposed in an uprising in 1986, the Marcoses were described as the world’s biggest kleptocrats, or rulers who use political power to steal a country’s resources.

The family staged a complete political comeback after 36 years with members occupying top national and local government positions as well as seats in both houses of the Philippine Congress. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)