September 1, 2017
QUEZON CITY – “The Marcoses have become legends among thieves and they used public funds for their political and personal gains. All their ill-gotten wealth should be returned to the people. We should be vigilant against any compromise agreement of the Duterte administration with the Marcoses that enables their getting a free pass for all their crimes and their continuing political rehabilitation. This will only perpetuate the injustices they committed against the Filipino people,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor, on statements of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre that the Marcoses will return some of their ill-gotten wealth and that a compromise agreement is being arranged.
The Basel Institute of Governance/International Center for Asset Recovery (ICAR) estimated that around $5-$10 billion of Marcos ill-gotten wealth needs to be recovered from Switzerland and the US. As of 2009, only $658 million have been recovered.
Several compromise agreements have been initiated by previous administrations. In 1993, the Ramos government through then Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chair Magtanggol Gunigundo, entered into a 75%-25% sharing agreement with the Marcoses. The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), a group of Marcos’ martial law victims that led the filing of the class action suit against the Marcoses in Hawaii, rejected the said arrangement as anomalous.
On September 13, 1995, while Imelda Marcos was appealing and contesting the US Federal Court decision before the US Court of Appeals in the class suit of human rights victims, Atty. Robert Swift, the court-appointed counsel of victims, and Gunigundo hatched a compromise agreement accepting a $150 million monetary settlement, in exchange for the dropping of the entire class suit. According to SELDA, Swift made this unilateral move, without adequate, thorough and genuine consultation with the victims. The martial law victims protested and Pres. Ramos was then forced not to sign the agreement.
On December 9, 1998, under the Estrada administration, the Philippine Supreme Court declared the December 28, 1993 agreement invalid, under which the PCGG had agreed with the Marcoses on a 75%-25% (75% for the PH government, 25% for the HR victims) split in the $150 million settlement. In February 1999, after SELDA’s opposition before the US Hawaii Court Judge Manuel Real on the said settlement, Real finally nullified the $150 million compromise settlement agreement.
Under the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, in 2004, P544 million were used by Arroyo and the Department of Agriculture, in the DA’s fertilizer program, which was exposed as a scam, and serious allegations were made on the Arroyo’s diversion of said funds to her presidential campaign.
“Almost all administrations have worked in cahoots with the Marcoses to absolve them of their grave crimes against the people, and to line up their pockets with a few millions. With Duterte’s facilitation of the political rehabilitation of the Marcoses, through the hero’s burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos and political horsetrading with the Marcos family, it is very important that the Filipino people, especially the martial law victims and their families, keep a close watch on what transpires between the Duterte administration and the Marcoses,” Clamor concluded.