Marcos’ loot: the details— and the relevance today

CHEERS TO Rappler for publishing a detailed breakdown of the billions in public funds the dictator Ferdinand Marcos plundered during his rule.  The article is pointedly relevant: Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. declared this week his presidential candidacy in 2022. 

As pointed out by reporter Lian Buan, “As of 2021, 35 years since the people power revolution, the PCGG is running after P125.9 billion more in ill-gotten wealth from the Marcos family, who are back in power both in local and national politics.” The Philippine Commission for Good Governance (PCGG) was mandated in 1986 to trace and regain access to the plundered funds. 

It is important to document the trail of the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth to counter the ongoing historical revision of the regime as a kind of “golden age,” including efforts to make Bongbong look as though he has not profited from the family’s ill- gotten wealth.  

The article was posted on September 29, five days after the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan awarded the PCGG bank certificates amounting to P96.03 million and $5.4 million from the Royal Traders Co. Inc., plus 12% in annual interests. But the amount is  only a small part of what has to be recovered and restored to Filipinos. 

Citing  PCGG records, Buan calculated a total of P171.34-billion that recovery efforts had already secured, validated by the courts as having been gained from government funds by the corrupt and “sinister maneuvers” of then President Marcos. 

The Rappler report laid out in four tables the exact amounts that the PCGG has recovered from 1986 to present; the monies still under litigation; and the amounts that need to be returned as these had already been declared as “ill-gotten wealth.” 

The article also presented a graph showing how much money the PCGG has remitted to the national treasury and the distribution of what has been collected to benefit the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the Coco farmers/Coconut Industry Investment Fund, and the victims of human rights violations during the regime. It is important for the public to know how recovery efforts can boost government’s capacity to address public needs. 

Buan recalled COA’s criticism of the failure of the Duterte administration to use proceeds gained by the PCGG which could have helped boost government disaster programs. 

This account provided the numbers and the verified facts about the family’s enrichment while in power, when they amassed enough wealth to support their lives of luxury during their period of exile and even after their return to the Philippines. 

The media must be on the side of truth as always. And the accounts of plunder are only part of it. The public cannot be allowed to forget the other horrors, such as the torture and violence,  perpetrated against Filipinos when the Marcoses were in power.