Politics

Sereno vs Marcos revisionism: ‘Kung walang ninakaw, walang na-recover’

FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—“Kung walang ninakaw, walang na-recover. Ganun ka-simple lang po.(If there were nothing stolen, there would be nothing recovered. It is that simple).”

That was what former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Oct. 12) with links to official reports from the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on the ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his family, and their cronies.

In hopes to educate the public amid the wave of fake news and fake videos that seek to revise the narrative of the Marcos dictatorship and the Marcos family’s more than 20-year reign, Sereno has been writing lengthy yet informative posts, citing credible sources like PCGG reports and Supreme Court decisions.

In one of her most recent posts, Sereno cited annual yearend reports from PCGG from 2016 to 2020, showing details of audited and recovered ill-gotten assets, accounts turned over to the government, updates on cases and other assets still under litigation from the Marcos stash.

The PCGG was created by Executive Order No. 1, the first edict that the late Corazon Aquino signed shortly after assuming power after People Power 1, the peaceful revolt that drove the Marcoses into exile in Hawaii in 1986.

The quasi-judicial government agency is responsible for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcoses and subordinates.

Sereno explained that four presidents, excluding the Aquinos—Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Rodrigo Duterte—have appointed PCGG commissioners.

“Those appointed and have reported that there was P174 billion worth of recovered assets and P125 billion that are yet to be recovered by Duterte appointees,” Sereno said.

“Please explain this to your friends. I will presume anyone who will still ask [me] about this a troll because I have been talking about this over and over again,” she added.

“They have decided not to check the documents and not to listen to explanations. Thank you for your understanding.”

Marcos loot

In 2016, PCGG reported that it has recovered P170,965,986,144.24 from 1986 to December 2016—out of the estimated P253 billion to P506 billion amassed by the Marcoses during the late dictator’s more than 20-year rule.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

These were from Swiss bank deposits, shares of stock and real estate, sale of surrendered properties and assets—located in Naga City, Puerto Galera, Tagaytay, Legazpi the Wigwam Property in Baguio City, etc.—and paintings and pieces of jewelry from the Marcoses and cronies.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

The PCGG added that it has remitted P481,953,705.56 in recovered funds and assets from the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth to the National Treasury from January to December 2016. During the same period, the PPCGG was aiming to recover P44,433,751,627.04 from 19 cases which were then pending at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

In 2017, the PCGG’s total remittances to the National Treasury reached P377,662,320.81.

However, also in 2017, PCGG failed to sell P336 million worth of real estate property recovered from the cronies of the late dictator.

These properties include:

Graphic by Ed Lustan

  • The 26,812.8-hectare (268.1-million square meter) Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. property surrendered to the government by Antonio Martel and Simplicio Palanca
  • The 64,669-square meter Independent Realty Corp. property in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite, surrendered by Jose Campos
  • A 5,952-square-meter lot in Naga City recovered from Roberto Benedicto’s Banahaw Broadcasting Corp.
  • A 2,335-square-meter lot in Francisco Evergreen Subdivision, Tagaytay City
  • A 1,000-square-meter property in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, and a 300-sqm lot in Calapan City, recovered from Jolly Bugarin
  • The 480-square-meter  Kingswood property in Emerald Court Subdivision, Caloocan City
  • Two 300-square-meter lots in Pangarap Village, all surrendered by former Marcos aide Alejo Ganut Jr.

These real estate assets, which were supposed to help the PCGG raise P336.014 million, were already scheduled for public bidding from March to November 2017. But none of the bidding plans pushed through.

In 2018, PCGG was able to remit P105,403,313.78 to the National Treasury. This amount includes, among others:

Graphic by Ed Lustan

  • P39 million proceeds from San Miguel Corporation (SMC) dividends
  • P24 million proceeds of income from Mid-Pasig Land Dev’t. Corp.
  • P20 million proceeds of income from Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Corporation (BASECO)
  • P22 million proceeds of rental incomes from various businesses and properties managed by PCGG

In 2019, the Commission was able to remit a total of P491,708,985.00 to the National Treasury, which came from various sources including cash recoveries from:

  • Philippine Integrated Meat Corp. (Pimeco) – P100 million
  • Mid-Pasig Land Dev’t. Corp. – P64,576,453.32
  • Contingency fund from the Philippine National Bank (PNB) – P60,775,200.00
  • BASECO – P50,000,000.00
  • SMC cash dividend – P38,690,874.60
  • Tacloban properties (rentals) – P5,620,037.09
  • Principal and interest of investment – P3,206,720.84
  • Galerria de Magallanes – P3,415,926.06
  • Equivalent in property forefeited – P165,043.00

A portion of the cash recoveries was from other income which included:

  • Interest earned in the escrow fund – P97,112,896.38
  • Sandiganbayan interest income – P37,909,795.76
  • Coco Levy Fund interest income – P30,236,038.04

From 1986 to December 2019, the PCGG has recovered a total of P173,910,300,938.37.

In 2020, the government has already recovered P174,230,649,767.76 of Marcos ill-gotten wealth.

A huge chunk of the recoveries was from the total collections and remittances to the National Treasury which was worth P171,342,598,679.67.

A portion of the money remitted to the National Treasury was collected to benefit the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), Coconut farmers, Coconut Industry Investment Fund, and human rights victims during the late dictator’s reign.

The breakdown of the PCGG’s total collections and remittances are as follows:

  • Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) – P78,934,549,093.15
  • Coco farmers, Coconut Industry Investment Fund – P76,471,157,580.12
  • Office of the President (Meralco cash dividends) – P4,401,154,675.52
  • Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) – P151,724,582.73
  • PCGG Special Provision – P847,349,781.98
  • Human rights victims – P10,533,000,000
  • General Fund (rental) – P3,662,966.17

Meanwhile, P2,888,051,088.09 of the total recoveries from 1986 to 2020 were from the escrow funds from the Marcos stash. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Bureau of Treasury – P1,752,082,732.12
  • Sandiganbayan – P1,131,648,473.03
  • Land Bank of the Philippines – P4,319,882.94

Records as of August this year showed that P125,983,539,469.39 worth of Marcos assets, which were allegedly part of the family’s ill-gotten wealth, was still under litigation.

This is composed of:

  • P96,917,367,519.24 – 914 items of personal properties including paintings, corporations, etc.
  • P29,066,171,950.15 – 942 items of real properties including condominiums, apartments, land, etc.

Guinness World Records gave the late dictator a title for the “Greatest Robbery of a Government.”

“The government of the Philippines announced on 23 Apr 1986 that it had succeeded in identifying $860.8 million salted away by former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (1917-89) and his wife Imelda,” Guinness World Records said on its website.

In a separate Facebook post last Oct. 9, Sereno further detailed the ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcoses. She also sought to dispute some incorrect pieces of information spreading across online platforms that were meant to revise history and spread false information denying that the Marcoses amassed ill-gotten wealth.

BAGO MAGSALITA UKOL SA PAG MOVE-ON ANG SINUMAN, PAG-USAPAN MUNA NG MGA PILIPINO ANG MGA ASSETS NA ITO, KUNG LAHAT NGA AY…

Posted by Meilou Sereno on Saturday, October 9, 2021

Relevant data

Sereno’s series of social media posts, explaining the facts on the unexplained wealth of the Marcos family and their cronies, were very relevant—especially after the late dictator’s son, Bongbong Marcos, filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president.

READ: Emergency alert for Marcos Jr.: A reminder apt 49 years ago

According to the former chief justice, aside from paid trolls, most of those who bash her and her posts were those who adhere to a “script” to protect Bongbong.

“They use videos from YouTube and Tiktok, which has no authorship and are very easy to fake, to defend [their views],” Sereno said in Filipino.

On Tuesday (Oct. 12), Sereno called out a netizen after he left a distasteful comment on her Facebook post about the Marcoses.

“Warning for Orly Garcia,” Sereno wrote.

“Your threats are against the law. I will ponder on whether I should temporarily stop what I am doing to file a complaint. Whatever my decision is, this is a fair warning for you,” she wrote in Filipino.

WARNING KAY ORLY GRACIA:Ang pagbabanta mo ay labag sa batas. Pag-iisipan ko, kung sulit na itigil ko panandalian ang…

Posted by Meilou Sereno on Monday, October 11, 2021

The netizen, later on, apologized in a private message, according to Sereno.

TSB

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