PCGG Clarifies Stand on Ill-Gotten Wealth
MANILA, Philippines - The government is steadfast on its claim over the ill-gotten wealth deposited in banks in the United States and in Singapore after victims of human rights violations during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos said they will not give up on their $2-billion judgment against the estate of the late strongman.
Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chairman Andres Bautista clarified on Monday that he is not asking the 9,539 victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the Martial Law to give up on the judgment from a Hawaii district court.
But Bautista said the victims' pursuit of the judgment through the $39 million Arelma account with the Bank of America in New York, and the US$30 million account with West LB in Singapore would clash with the government's efforts to recover Marcos assets that were ill-gotten from state coffers.
"I am not asking them to give up that claim, but I would like to point out that theirs is a judgment precisely against the Marcos estate; meaning, over assets he actually owned personally. Over those kinds of property, they can enforce their favorable US judgment," he said.
"But when it comes to ill-gotten assets, however, these are plundered funds that should go back to the country, to the Filipino people. The PCGG is duty-bound to assert the Republic's ownership over ill-gotten wealth, just like the funds in New York and in Singapore which we want to recover for the country and which they are also going after," Bautista added.
The official emphasized that all ill-gotten wealth should, as a matter of law and principle, be returned to the Philippine Treasury as these assets were improperly obtained by Marcos through gross misuse of his public office and in grave betrayal of the public trust.
"Therefore, under the laws of the Republic, these assets were forfeit from the moment of misappropriation," he added.
Nevertheless, Bautista said the PCGG welcomed the ratification of the compensation statute, which will be known as the "Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013", and looks forward to President Aquino's imminent signing of the measure into law.
He said the PCGG commends the 15th Congress, for finally passing that which has been long in the making - a landmark law formally recognizing the "heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. …