Duterte says any talk with Marcoses about wealth return must have Congress’ nod
Any negotiation with the heirs of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos for the return of some of their wealth should have the imprimatur of Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
Talking to the reporters during his attendance at the birthday celebration of a congressman in Davao City on Saturday evening, the Chief Executive admitted that he had a talk with Ilocos Sur Governor Imee Marcos regarding their offer to the government.
"If it's (offer) true, if there is really sincerity in everybody's heart, we have to start with Congress. You know, Congress was authorized," he said, adding that the central bank should also be involved.
Some of the precious pieces of jewelry of the Marcos family which were seized from them following Marcos' downfall in 1986 have been kept in a vault at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The government has been planning to auction them.
Duterte said Congress must pass a law.
"But Congress must authorize because that is money to be recovered by the Government of the Philippines and that was the offer. That was the rationale of the governor when (she) offered," he said.
Last week, Duterte bared that a spokesman for the Marcoses has offered to return "a few gold bars" and some discovered wealth of the late dictator's family.
But he said he could not say yet with finality what would happen to the Marcoses' offer "because there will be so many stages."
He said there could be arbitration or the government, through the Department of Justice, could pursue prosecution of the Marcoses.
The President said that the Marcoses "were not ready to announce that they stole the money," which they were offering to return to the government.
Imee Marcos earlier said that there was no negotiation yet with the government regarding their offer.
Duterte's disclosure about the offer of the Marcoses drew criticisms from different quarters, particularly the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime. They have said that the Marcoses' offer was tantamount to admitting that they have ill-gotten wealth and they should be prosecuted. Celerina Monte/DMS