Speaker wants Mar­coses to ‘re­turn ev­ery­thing’

Business World - - THE NATION - Kris­tine Joy V. Patag, Mario M. Ban­zon.

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.

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 with

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