At a glance
- Claim: The Marcos family’s wealth comes from within the family alone, given that, from 1985 to 1986, the total Philippine budget and loans only amounted to $52 billion, while Imelda herself declared owning documents of assets amounting to $240 billion.
- Rating: FALSE
- The facts: It has been proven in court that the overwhelming excess in Ferdinand Marcos’ real assets, given his limited salary as president, were acquired through illicit means.
- Why we fact-checked this: PSSAP Underground Media’s video has gained 11,000 views, 1,500 comments, and 7,900 shares on Facebook since it was published in October 2020.
On October 31, 2020, the Facebook page “PSSAP Underground Media” stated that it would have been materially impossible for the Marcos family wealth to have come from embezzled public funds, given that the country was poor and drowning in debt during Marcos’ regime.
In defense of this statement, the Facebook account claimed that the Philippines was in possession of only $24 billion in Marcos’ entire 20-year administration. “PSSAP Underground Media” added that even combining the cost of Marcos’ infrastructure projects, it would have reached only $100 billion at the time.
Their video has gained 11,000 views, 1,500 comments, and 7,900 shares on Facebook since it was published in October 2020.
This claim is false.
It has been proven in court that the overwhelming excess in Ferdinand Marcos’ real assets, given his limited salary as president, were acquired through illicit means.
Official reports from the previous budget minister showed that the Marcos couple ought to have accumulated a total lawful salary of P2,319,583.33 or $304,372.43 while they were in power, yet both reported incomes which accumulated to over P16 million or $2,414,484.91 from 1965 to 1984. These are based on rates during those years. (READ: FALSE: Wealth of Marcos family from ‘hard work,’ and ‘not from public funds’)
In 1986, the Jovito Salonga-led commission also exposed trails of the couple’s real estate assets overseas, overseas bank accounts, and dummy corporations. In 1990, $356 million belonging to the Marcoses was affirmed by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court as wealth amassed illegally during their two-decade rule. (READ: FALSE: ‘No proof’ that Marcos couple stole billions from Filipinos).
By 2017, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) had recovered more than P171 billion worth of assets stashed away by the Marcos family.
Data from the National Statistics Office (now known as the Philippine Statistics Authority) showed the summaries of Philippine government income and expenditures from 1966 to 1997. During the Marcos years, the national budget’s actual spending would have amounted to P600.778 billion or $29 billion by the end of 1986, according to the peso-dollar exchange rate during that year.
The alleged “$100 billion” spent on infrastructure projects is also an incorrect value. One of the most expensive projects belonging to the Marcos administration’s “edifice complex” would be the infamous Bataan Nuclear Power Plant which, to this day, has never been fueled but had cost the government $2.3 billion at the time. The foreign debt incurred was only successfully paid off in 2007.
In order to fund additional projects, foreign debt soared. From $360 million in 1962, it had risen to $28.3 billion in 1986, making for a nearly $28 billion increase in foreign debt since Marcos’ first year in power. – Danna Gonsalves/Rappler.com
Danna Gonsalves is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.
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