HOAX: Marcos gold bars, jewelry ‘taken by Aquinos,’ opposition
Claim: Two websites claim that the Marcoses’ loot, including their gold bars and Imelda’s jewelry, were taken by the Aquinos and other government officials.
- A headline on a blogpost dated August 27 on www.newscenterph.info reads, “Ito na! Isiniwalat sa Publiko ang Gold Bars ng mga Marcos na deniposito nina Ex-Pnoy, De Lima, Mar at Drilon sa bansang Thailand.”
The post contains a video news report wherein a certain Galma Arcilla, supposedly the director-general of a group calling itself the Transnational-Anti Organized Crime Intelligence Group (TAOC-IG), claimed to have authentic documents on an alleged shipment of $141 billion worth of gold to Thailand.
In a case this group filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, the alleged shipment supposedly implicated former president Benigno Aquino III, Senator Leila de Lima, former local government secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr, former finance secretary Cesar Purisima, Treasury Department Chief Dealer Lorelei Fernandez, and Senator Franklin Drilon.
- A post on the blog “The Daily Sentry” dated June 9 questions where the Marcoses’ wealth went after it was recovered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). They cited the former presidential assistant for Economic Affairs Jose Alejandrino, as reposted by Former undersecretary for Special Concerns Abraham "Abe" Purugganan on Facebook.
Alejandrino asked where the recovered loot and Imelda’s jewels went after Ferdinand Marcos was ousted.
Purugganan further claimed that Corazon Aquino created the PCGG to transfer the Marcoses' wealth to her family.
Facts: The alleged gold bar shipment to Thailand had been debunked by news groups like Rappler, Manila Bulletin, and ABS-CBN in January 2017. Reports debunking the claim cited mismatched dates, wrong signatures, wrong Republic Acts, and wrong titles for the accused as proof that the document was a hoax. (READ: 5 reasons the gold shipment complaint vs Aquino is a joke)
In an email to Rappler on Wednesday, December 5, the PCGG said that no gold bars were recovered from the Marcoses: “There were no gold bars recovered from the Marcos loot nor annexed in cases filed.”
Ill-gotten wealth recovered from the Marcoses is documented by the PCGG which was created on February 28, 1986 to recover the same from the Marcoses and their cronies. The blog posts did not present proof of the wealth that was allegedly transferred to the Aquinos.
The PCGG's 2017 annual report, which is available on their website, states that they have recovered a total amount of P171,359,374,369.98 (US$3,239,399,702.88)* from 1986 to December 2017.
The report also shows where this money went:
- P78,632,756,738.27 ($1,486,458,465.151)* was remitted to the Bureau of Treasury for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.
- P76,820,898,758.21 ($1,451,516,516.98)* was put in escrow funds.
- P10,533,000,000 ($199,128,619.66)* – or P10 billion ($188,998,026.64)* plus accrued interest – has been set aside to fund reparations for human rights victims, according to Republic Act (RA) 10368 or the “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.”
- P146,724,582.73 ($2,773,117.83)* was given to the Office of the Solicitor General pursuant to RA 9417 or “An act to strengthen the office of the solicitor general by expanding and streamlining its bureaucracy, upgrading employee skills and augmenting benefits, and appropriating funds therefor and for other purposes.” Section 11(i) in the said law states that it will draw funding, in part, from 5% of the monetary awards given by courts to client agencies.
- P4,401,154,675.52 ($83,182,519.8668)*, which was from the sale of Meralco shares and Meralco cash dividends, is with the Office of the President.
- P3,662,966.17 ($69,225.2573)* was paid to the PCGG by Globe Telecom for a rental of an Independent Realty Corp (IRC) space from December 2004 to 2012.
- P821,176,649.08 ($15,519,161.852)* was used from 1999 to December 2017 by the PCGG, in relation to the special provision in the General Appropriations Act, which says that "not more than 10% of [the sale or administration of assets by the PCGG] shall be used for the payment of lawful claims," including recovery expenses, selling expenses, and custodianship.
In September, the PCGG also told Rappler that all of Imelda’s jewelry are in their custody, stored in the BSP, and were not worn by Corazon Aquino or former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
“The Marcos jewelry (Malacañang Collections, Roumeliotes Collection, Hawaii Collections) are all inventoried and accounted for. These are all kept in the vault of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,” the PCGG said. (READ: The value of Marcos jewels according to the Philippine government)
The Malacañang Collection contains pieces of jewelry found in the presidential Palace following the People Power Revolution in 1986. The Roumeliotes Collection was seized from alleged Marcos crony Demetriou Roumeliotes when he tried to smuggle the jewelry out of the country. Both of these collections have been with the BSP since 1986.
The Hawaii Collection was the jewelry seized from the Marcoses when they fled the Philippines for Hawaii in 1986. This was turned over by the US District Court of Hawaii to the Philippine government on December 18, 1992. (READ: SC affirms forfeiture of Imelda Marcos' 3rd jewelry set) – Vernise L. Tantuco/Rappler.com
*Based on December 6, 2018 exchange rates US$1 = P52.89