Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. caused ire when he insisted that the 57-hectare lakeside property in Paoay, Ilocos Norte is owned by his family, the family of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. The sprawling lakeside property includes the Malacanang ti Amianan (Malacanang of the North, now a very popular tourist destination), Maharlika Hall, Suba Sports Complex (Paoay Sports Complex), and an 18-hole golf course.
Bongbong asked the Sandiganbayan First Division to dismiss the government’s claim over the said property earlier this month in a memorandum issued January 4, and that the government’s lease agreement with the late Marcos through the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) in 1978 already expired in 2003. The lease states that the PTA should pay a nominal lease fee of P1.00 per year for 25 years to the “lessor and owner” Ferdinand Marcos.
Bongbong emphasized that the fact that the government is still occupying their property is in fact illegal and no forfeiture case was filed.
On the other hand, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) asked the Sandiganbayan to denounce the lease mentioned my Bongbong. PCGG said that the lease should be null and void because President Marcos is not the owner. Even government lawyers are backing up the claims, saying that President Marcos shouldn’t have engaged in business affairs concerning government contracts as stated in the 1973 constitution and RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). According to the government lawyers, there was no certificate of title included in the lease, nor any proof that the Marcoses paid real estate tax for the property.
Bongbong, who has a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, said that PTA should seek the nullification of the contract since it is the lessee, not PCGG. He also mentioned that since the lease contract already expired, the nullification case is invalid. If the government will use “ill-gotten wealth” as their argument, Bongbong said that Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the case and the petition should be dismissed.
“(T)his action is not one for recovery of ill-gotten wealth, coupled with the fact that the parcels of land are not under sequestration, this Honorable Court must dismiss for lack of jurisdiction,” Bongbong’s lawyers said in a GMA News article.
With reports from Rappler and GMA News Online