MANILA, Philippines — If the Marcoses wish to be granted immunity for returning the wealth they are accused of stealing, they should first admit that they did steal billions of dollars from the Filipino people, Vice President Leni Robredo said.
“Iyong sa akin kasi, bago pag-usapan iyong immunity, dapat may pag-amin muna ng kasalanan. Mahirap magpatawad sa isang tao na hindi naman inaamin iyong kasalanan (For me, before we can talk of immunity, there should be an admission of wrongdoing. It’s difficult to forgive someone who will not admit their sin),” Robredo said in a press release Wednesday in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s disclosure a day earlier that the Marcoses would not give any money back without being assured they would not be jailed for it.
“Tingin ko, walang healing na mangyayari, wala dapat immunity na mangyayari hanggang hindi pa inaamin iyong kasalanan. Kasi gustong sabihin, gusto lang makalusot sa legal repercussions, pero wala namang pag-amin noong pagkakasala. Kailangan nating intindihin na napakalaki noong ninakaw sa taumbayan, na bago pa man pag-usapan iyong forgiveness, iyong pagpapatawad, kailangang aminin muna na talagang nagkasala sa taumbayan (I think there won’t be any healing, there should be no immunity given while there has been no admission of wrongdoing. Because it means they just want to avoid the legal repercussions, but there is no admission of the wrongdoing. We have to understand that they stole vast amounts from the people, that before we can talk about forgiveness, there has to be an admission that they wronged the people),” she said.
A lawyer herself, Robredo noted the challenges of going through legal proceedings.
“Kung magbabalik-tanaw tayo, 31 years na mula na nagsampa ng mga kaso, pero halos kalahati pa lang iyong nababawi ng pamahalaan at naibabalik sa taumbayan. Mayroon pang kalahating hindi naibabalik (If we look back, it has been 31 years since cases were filed, but until today the government has only recovered and returned to the people less than half of it. There’s still the half that hasn’t been returned),” she said.
“So kung may offer na ibabalik, tingin ko mafa-fast track niya. Kahit na nga super delayed na, tingin ko mafa-fast track niya. Pero huwag humingi ng immunity na walang pag-amin, kasi tingin ko vital iyon (So if there is an offer to return it, it will definitely be fast-tracked. Even if it is already super delayed, I think it can be fast-tracked. But there shouldn’t be immunity if there is no admission, because I think it is vital).”
Last week, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, the eldest child of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos and an ally of Duterte, said that there were no negotiations yet for the return of their ill-gotten wealth.
Asked if they intended to return anything to the government, she replied: “Pag-usapan na lang ng mga abugado (Lawyers will be discussing this).”
Here’s an infographic on the Marcoses’ wealth and income: