MANILA, Philippines – When asked about her family’s supposed plan to return some of their wealth to the Philippine government, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos said there were no negotiations in the works and that it was best for their lawyers to respond.
The late dictator’s daughter, however, did tell reporters about her “trust” in President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Tiwala kami sa Presidente na siya ang makakapagtapos ng deka-dekadang kaso. Ang pamilya nag-uusap pa, pero nasa kamay pa ng mga abogado,” said Marcos on Thursday, August 31, on the sidelines of a congressional hearing into the alleged misuse and mishandling of tobacco and provincial funds.
(We trust that the president will end decades and decades of cases. The family is still discussing, but our lawyers will handle this.)
Marcos did not elaborate.
Speaking to newly-appointed government officials on August 29, Duterte said that a “spokesman” of the Marcoses said they were willing to “bring back… even a few gold bars” to help fund his government programs.
Duterte did not say who the spokesman was and has not elaborated on this apparent plan.
Imee Marcos is the daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who put the entire Philippines under Martial Law in the waning years of his last term as president – supposedly because of the Communist threat.
What followed were years marred by human rights abuses and the pilferage of government coffers – both by Marcos and his cronies. (READ: Marcos years marked 'golden age' of PH economy? Look at the data)
The Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth has been the subject of numerous cases both here and abroad.
When asked categorically if the family intended to return their wealth, Imee Marcos said: “Pag-usapan na lang ng ating mga abugado (Our lawyers will discuss that).”
The day prior, a lawmaker said that sometime in 2003, Imee’s mother, former first lady and current Ilocos Norte 2nd district Representative Imelda Marcos, said she wanted to return “7,000 tons of gold” to the Philippines.
“Hindi ko alam (I don’t know). I think it’s best that the lawyers respond to all these queries,” said the younger Marcos.
Buhay Representative Lito Atienza, a long-time political foe of the Marcos family, told reporters in a press conference that Imelda Marcos confided in him during a wedding reception. He recalled that Imee then told him not to believe her own mother’s words.
The Marcos family are known supporters of Duterte.
They helped the President during the 2016 elections. Duterte has even claimed that they contributed money to his campaign, a claim the Marcoses themselves have denied.
Duterte also promised during the campaign that he would allow the burial of the late dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.