MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers appealed to the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on Sunday to file contempt charges against the Marcos family for keeping 156 high-value artworks that were allegedly part of their ill-gotten wealth.
“It has been decades since the former dictator had been ousted from power but we barely skimmed the surface of his ill-gotten wealth… The government should go all out in retrieving the Marcos loot,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said.
After the Sandiganbayan ruled that eight paintings owned by Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos were purchased using money stolen from the government, the PCGG carried out a series of raids in the Marcos’ family residence in San Juan City, condominium at Fort Bonifacio Global City, office at the Batasan Pambansa complex in Quezon City and ancestral house in Ilocos Norte.
Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation seized 15 paintings, of which four were reproductions of paintings by old masters and the rest done by other European painters.
“I think we should end this kid gloves’ treatment of the Marcoses. If the government wants to confiscate those paintings, it can do it and use the law to do it,” Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said.
PCGG Chair Andres Bautista admitted on Sunday that it was only now that the government was acting on the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in favor of the government’s forfeiture of the Marcos family’s estimated ill-gotten wealth of $10 billion, including $658 million in Swiss bank deposits, priceless artworks and prime properties abroad.
“At least now we are acting on it and we want to convey a strong message that we have not forgotten about the Marcoses,” PCGG Chair Bautista said.
Former Justice Renato Corona penned and computed the Marcos family’s wealth at only $304,000 with anything above that considered disproportionate to the late Ferdinand Marcos’ salary as President from 1965 to 1986.
By not simply surrendering the artworks, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should be sued by the PCGG, according to Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon.
“The Marcoses should have the good sense to just surrender the paintings to the government,” Ridon said.
“Skirting a lawful order does not bode well for the presidential ambitions of the family,” he added.
It can be noted that Senator Marcos has already expressed interest in running for President or Vice President in the 2016 elections.
With report from Cyra Moraleda