PBBM denies family's ill-gotten wealth, calls it propaganda

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

MELBOURNE — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. claimed that his family’s ill-gotten wealth was merely a propaganda campaign aimed at pressuring them to return their purported ill-gotten wealth to the government.

In a sit-down interview with ABC anchor Sarah Ferguson earlier this week here, Marcos Jr. attempted to downplay the extensive evidence indicating that former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. had depleted government funds by at least $5 billion and that his family had amassed millions in stolen assets, which they even brought with them into exile in Hawaii.

“I think contemporary court judgments acknowledge the atrocities that were committed, but also the plunder of the country’s resources. Why wouldn’t you want all of that money back in the hands of the Filipino people?” Ferguson asked Marcos Jr.

The President then gave a nervous laughter, a reaction that did not evade the interviewer's observation,

"May I just ask you why that’s funny?” Ferguson asked.

Marcos quickly appeared to regain composure and stated that he "strongly disagrees" with the "claims" made about his family.

"Since cases were filed, the government failed. Cases were filed against me, my family, the estate, etc. Up to now we have... the assertions that were made were shown to be untrue,” Marcos said.

The President further mentioned that his family purportedly signed quitclaims, relinquishing their rights to properties and assets discovered by the government, asserting that they were left with nothing after fleeing to Hawaii following the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution.

Marcos also dismissed the findings of the Presidential Commission on Good Government as "propaganda," downplaying their conclusions that the family still owes a significant sum to the country from ill-gotten wealth.

“I think that having seen the facts, as they have been slowly reviewed, with true investigation and not propaganda, actual investigation, court cases, investigations by all kinds of NGOs (non-government organizations) and agencies, that has changed. People can see that it was propaganda,” he said.

In reaction to demands for the Marcos family to surrender their unlawfully obtained riches, the president additionally asserted that his family departed without any possessions, stating that there was "nothing left" when they sought refuge in Hawaii in 1986.

"We have signed, this family has signed quit claims where any money that you find is yours. Everything was taken from us. We were taken to Hawaii. Everything. Everything was taken from us. We had nothing left,” Marcos Jr. said.

Shortly after Marcos Sr. fled the country in 1986, the recently established Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) unearthed evidence of Swiss bank accounts, clandestine international deposits arranged on their behalf, and extensive global assets owned by the Marcos family. Well-documented evidence of such, including diaries, was seized when the Marcoses vacated Malacañang on 25 February 1986.

Estimates of the wealth amassed by the Marcoses during the final years of Marcos Sr.'s presidency vary from US$5 billion to $13 billion. This substantial sum far surpasses Marcos Sr.'s annual presidential salary, which was approximately $4,700 or P100,000.

In 2003, the Supreme Court mandated the forfeiture of $658 million worth of frozen Swiss bank deposits belonging to Marcos Sr.

Daily Tribune