MANILA — The gold bars owned by the family of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, which President Rodrigo Duterte said they were willing to return to the government, could actually be certificates used for trade, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday.
“What I know is that ito mga certificates. Pag-trade mo ng gold, di talaga gold bar ang hawak mo. These are certificates na tine-trade mo. ‘Di ito physical state ng gold bar. Yan ang pagkaalam ko (What I know is that these are certificates. When you trade gold, you don’t really use gold. These are certificates which you trade. It’s not a physical state of a gold bar. That’s what I know),” Lacson told reporters in an interview.
Lacson said that he recalled a time when Ilocos Norte Congresswoman Imelda Marcos once showed him and some friends gold certificates which he could not tell whether they were authentic.
“I remember a long time ago, Mrs. Marcos showed us, I was with some friends; she showed us gold certificates. Masyadong makapal. Mga Xerox ang nakita namin so I could not actually make a conclusion at the time kung talagang authentic ‘yan. But she showed us that (They were too thick. We saw photocopies so I could not really make a conclusion at that time if they were authentic),” the senator said.
He said the late President Marcos had been trading gold long before he became chief executive so it was possible that this was what President Duterte was referring to.
If it had been real gold bars, Lacson said that they might have been obtained by the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) a long time ago.
The PCGG was created to run after the illegally-amassed wealth of the Marcoses and how much the family owed the government.
“Hindi pa presidente, wala pa sa gobyerno, nagte-trade na ng gold si dating President Marcos. So baka ito ang nire-refer. Kung usapan gold bars, I don’t believe it’s gold bars kasi by this time kung may gold bars matagal nang nakuha ng PCGG yan (Long before Marcos was president, or even in the government, he had already been trading gold. Maybe this was what was being referred to. I don’t believe it’s gold bars because by this time if there are gold bars, the PCGG could have acquired them a long time ago),” he added.
Lacson welcomed the Marcoses’ move to return their alleged ill-gotten wealth, but noted that talks between the family and President Duterte were still “premature.”
“I think napaka-premature ng stage ng negotiation if ever there’s such a negotiation between the Marcos family and the executive branch (If ever there’s such a negotiation between the Marcos family and the executive branch, I think it’s in a premature stage),” Lacson said.
“But if there’s such an offer, that’s good. Because whatever wealth that can be turned over to the government, dagdag sa (it will add to the) national treasury,” he added.