MANILA – The camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has disowned as “a scam pure and simple” the controversial gathering Saturday of tens of thousands of members of a cooperative at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) grounds, where broad hints were dropped about a chance to get a share of the Marcos wealth.
“We have just received reports of people gathering because of promises of gold from the Marcoses. We do not know of nor have any involvement of any of these gatherings. It’s a scam pure and simple,” Marcos Jr. said in a statement.
As his statement was sent to media, UPLB students gathered in another part of the sprawling campus at the foothills of Mt. Makiling in Laguna for a lightning protest against the apparent deception with which the pro-Marcos gathering was billed as simply a cooperative’s assembly. Despite tensions in the campus, no untoward incident happened between the two groups.
In his statement, Marcos Jr. recalled, “I have repeatedly warned the public against unscrupulous individuals who have been using our family to advance their personal interests. Today’s event is a classic example of that.”
The gathering of the One Social Family Credit Cooperative was one of four activities on campus authorized by school officials on Saturday. It was expected to draw some 50,000 Marcos beneficiaries from Southern Tagalog and the National Capital Region, per information gathered by the UPLB student organizations’ alliance Sakbayan (Samahan ng Kabataan Parasa Bayan), from one Jeff Fortuna, Logistics Coordinator of the cooperative’s gathering.
Sakbayan also quoted some residents saying they were invited by the cooperative to join in the gathering, for no specific reason. Still others said they presumed the event would include the distribution of money from the Marcoses.
The participants – ferried from various parts of CALABARZON and MIMAROPA – got booklets from a certain ‘Bullion Buyer Ltd.’ which bore the image of Ferdinand Marcos on its cover. Some ralliers said they were promised “ATM Cards” will be given later.