President Duterte said today (Tuesday, August 29) that the heirs of Ferdinand Marcos had offered to return some of the family’s ill-gotten wealth, including “a few gold bars”.
Marcos and his wife Imelda were accused of plundering about $10 billion from the state during their two decades in power.
President Duterte, a Marcos ally, said last month that he may abolish a government agency that has recovered some 170 billion pesos ($3.4 billion) from the family.
However, speaking at a swearing-in ceremony for government officials today, the president said: “They (the Marcos family) told me they’ll open everything, and probably return what is uncovered.”
He did not name the Marcos family member who had approached him, the total being offered nor any terms attached to it.
The family member had apparently told the president “we are ready to open and bring (it) back … including a few gold bars“. He added that the amount involved was “not Fort Knox”.
The president said he would accept the offer and was looking to appoint somebody to negotiate with the family.
The announcement is only the latest development in the remarkable political comeback of the Marcos clan.
Since the dictator’s death in Hawaii exile in 1989, his widow Imelda has won a seat in the House of Representatives, their daughter Imee is governor of Ilocos Norte and their son Ferdinand, or ‘BongBong’, has presidential ambitions.
Marcos family friend
Duterte has openly supported the Marcos family, cheering on BongBong in his failed bid for the vice-presidency last year.
The family is known to be grooming him for the presidency as well, and the son is challenging the result of the vice-presidential vote in court in a fight that could put him in the country’s second-highest office.
President Duterte stunned the nation last November by allowing the body of the late dictator to be buried in the national “Heroes’ Cemetery” despite a widespread outcry.
Imelda denies the family’s wealth is ill-gotten and at times has said her late husband recovered the so-called Yamashita Treasure that was looted by the Japanese from across Southeast Asia.
“I will accept the explanation whether or not it is true, it does not matter,” the president said today.
What was important, he said, is it would be “something that really works for the Filipinos”.