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Pacquiao tells BBM: Return ill-gotten wealth, apologize

In 2018, Marcos’ mother, the former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, had been convicted of seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law when she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s as Metropolitan Manila governor.

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Presidential aspirant and senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Friday took swipe at rival Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., saying the former lawmaker should return his family’s ill-gotten wealth and apologize for the abuses committed during his father’s two-decade reign.

In a media interview, Pacquiao said he is convinced that the Marcoses have pilfered money during their rule and that it should be returned to the country.

The abuses committed by the Marcos family are well-documented. Various court decisions ordering the family to return money stolen from the government coffers have been ordered, too.

In 2018, Marcos’ mother, the former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, had been convicted of seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law when she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s as Metropolitan Manila governor.

She was to serve 6 to 11 years in prison for each of the seven counts but her case is on appeal. She is now 92-years-old and is unlikely to be sent behind bars.

“I believe that they have stolen money from Filipinos but the question is how much should they return?” the Senator told reporters.

“If they return it, maybe we can pay the trillions-worth of debt of the Philippines,” he added.

The retired boxing champion said he agrees that the Marcoses should apologize and chided Bongbong for claiming that he was too young to be aware of what was happening during his father’s rule.

Pacquiao said that it is incorrect for him to do so as he was in Malacañang while wearing a camouflage military uniform, a full adult when his father was ousted in 1986.

Born in 1957, Marcos was 18 when his father declared Martial law. He served as Vice Governor of Ilocos Norte in 1980 at 23 and became the governor of the province in 1983 until the last days of his father’s reign in 1986.

“I am not attacking but I am only saying what I saw. He cannot say that he does not know anything because he was there with his family in Malacañang. I don’t know how old he was then but he cannot say that he had no awareness back then,” he said.

The lawmaker then vowed to review all related investigations if elected into the presidency.

“Nothing personal, but we will do it for the Filipino people. We will follow that up and look into how much they should return to the country,” he said.

Marcos has repeatedly said that he will not apologize for his father’s abuses.

Data from Amnesty International showed that the Marcos regime was rife with human rights violations. A total of 70,000 individuals were detained, with 34,000 tortured, while 3,240 were killed by the military and police.

Pacquiao and Bongbong are among those vying for the country’s highest seat in the upcoming polls.

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