Posted 2 weeks ago
By the time he was exiled to Hawaii by a popular uprising in 1986, former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos had reportedly amassed a fortune of $5-10 billion, despite earning an official annual salary of just $13,500.
His wife, Imelda, now 88, was infamous for her collection of 1,220 pairs of shoes, which became an outward symbol of the family’s alleged kleptocracy and crass extravagance in contrast with the extreme poverty of many of their subjects.
|Former senator and vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, greets supporters|
|Former Philippines First Lady and current congresswoman Imelda Marcos visits the tomb of her husband to mark National Heroes Day in Taguig City, south of Manila, in August 2017 CREDIT: EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG|
The family, who returned to the Philippines after Marcos’ death, and remain a powerful political clan, have always denied any wrongdoing.
But now, amid rumours that the former strongman’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jnr, has ambitions to run for president himself, they are said to be considering whether to give back some of the wealth acquired through his father’s 21-year rule to the Philippine state coffers.
Reports of the possible spurt of generosity were sparked this week by a statement by current Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, a political ally of Bongbong.
“They [Marcos family] told me they’ll open everything and probably return what is uncovered,” he told reporters. “They are ready to bring it back… including a few gold bars.”
The alleged offer has not been publicly confirmed by the family. Attorney Victor Rodriguez, a spokesman for Bongbong Marcos, declined to comment when contacted by The Telegraph.
The Presidential Commission of Good Government, a quasi-judicial agency created over 30 years ago to recover ill-gotten wealth accumulated by the Marcos regime, has had a laborious task initiating legal action across the world to track down their fortunes.
It has recovered $4.4 billion from Swiss bank accounts, real estate and paintings and jewellery.
In 2016, it approved the auction of part of Imelda Marcos’s extensive jewellery collection, worth approximately $21 million and including a Cartier tiara and a rare 25-carat pink diamond said to be the size of a grape.
|Bongbong” Marcos Jnr throws a t-shirt to his supporters CREDIT: NOEL CELIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES|
Politicians have demanded the Marcos family give back more, but Mr Duterte’s announcement was met with some scepticism in the Senate where it was debated this week.
“Everything that was stolen should be returned… it’s not like we will be satisfied just with crumbs,” said Senate President Aquilino Pimentel alleged, in a report by the Philippine Star.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez described the potential move as a “welcome development” that would serve the government’s interest. But he added: “The Marcoses should give it all, nothing less.”
Bongbong Marcos is pursuing a legal challenge to become vice-president after what he claimed was an unfair election last year.
His family has seen a comeback in political fortunes despite multiple accusations of human rights violations during his father’s regime.
The younger Marcos enjoys the support of Mr Duterte, who stunned the nation in November when he allowed the late president’s body to be buried in the national Heroes’ Cemetery. Critics said Marcos should have been denied such an honour.