A Catholic priest on Tuesday, September 13, warned that justice will again be delayed if a bill in Congress seeking to abolish the commission tasked to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family is passed.
“We were warned early on that if Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wins the election, our quest for the ill-gotten wealth will be over,” said Father Antonio Labiao Jr., executive secretary of Caritas Philippines.
Representative Bienvenido Abante of Manila proposed a measure in the House of Representatives arguing that the Presidential Commission on Good Governance has “outlived its usefulness.”
“If after that long period of time, they failed to establish whether the sequestered assets are ill-gotten or not and who are the owners of these assets, they will not be able to do so even if we would give it another hundred years,” said Abante said in the explanatory note of the bill.
As of 2020, the PCGG reported a total of PhP174.2 billion that has been recovered from the Marcos family since 1986. The commission said it has an estimated PhP99.678-billion value of assets under litigation.
Father Labiao said the bill is part of an attempt to “undermine the country’s effort to bring justice to the victims of human rights abuses” during the 1970s.
“We are in for six years of swallowing the bitter pill of our inexcusable political ignorance, generational tolerance for corruption, and constant desire for entertainment in government,” said the priest.
Father Angelito Cortez, former vice director of the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Office in Rome of the Order of the Friars Minor, said the bill “will begin twisting history and all truth.”
“In this time of fake news and historical denialism, we need institutions that will allow the Filipino people to know the truth,” said the priest.
“Instead of eradicating it, the national government should strengthen PCGG,” he added.
The PCGG was established on Feb. 28, 1986, to recover the ill-gotten wealth accumulated by Ferdinand Marcos Sr., his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad.