TALKS

An ally and a critic of President Duterte both doubt the seriousness of the supposed offer to return the  alleged ill-gotten wealth by the Marcos family.

This after President Duterte asked for congressional authorization for President Duterte to negotiate with the Marcoses for the return of their alleged ill-gotten wealth.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said, “E yun namang proposed negotiation doon sa ano ito—Marcos loot? Loot, kasi nakaw di ba? Matagal nang pinag-uusapan. Tignan muna natin ano ba, seryoso ba kayo o hindi? Baka mamaya hindi na naman mag-seryoso yan. Ano ba yung gusto ninyong i-surrender, di ba, bago tayo magsayang ng oras diyan.”

Opposition Congressman Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said, “why involve the Congress in a negotiation where the Marcos heirs are at best ambivalent and which may not even prosper beyond propaganda?what was the answer of Imee marcos she said you just talk to our elader such an ambivalence. i hope it prospers but if it does not there is the PCGG continuing its efforts to recover the remaining portions of the hidden wealth. ”

Even Alvarez is stomped by Malacanan’s call for congressional authorization for President Duterte to negotiate with the Marcoses for the return of their alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Alvarez was asked if Congress has that authority to give. “Alam mo that’s a good question. Kaya nga hindi ko pa alam kung anong gagawin namin. Pag-uusapan pa namin yan dito, yung proposal na ganyan, whether meron ba kaming power para bigyang authority yung presidente to negotiate. Ngayon lang kasi nangyari yan so mabuti na yung tignan nating yung legalities.”

Lagman for his part believes Duterte did not know any better. “President Rodrigo Duterte does not need any new law or authority from the Congress to negotiate for the return of any or all the hidden wealth of the Marcoses.The President of the Republic has the continuing principal authority under existing law to recover the Marcos ill-gotten hoard with the assistance of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).”

Lagman points out that the PCGG, which was created by the late President Corazon Aquino under Executive Order No. 1 on February 28, 1986, is “charged with the task of assisting the President” in “the recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad”.”   Under Executive Order No. 1, the President can also cause the investigation of the cases of graft and corruption which he may assign to the PCGG.Moreover, the President even on his own accord can negotiate the surrender of the ill-gotten hoard in the same manner that he can negotiate for the surrender of a high profile suspected criminal without any act of the Congress.However, the unwritten rule in the projected negotiation must conform to transparency, accountability and no conditionality.”

Alvarez also doesnt see the legal basis of Malacanan’s request. “Ah hindi ko alam kung galing sa legal ng Malacanang, kung saan nakuha yan.Hindi, yung sa akin pagka nandyan na yung referral—yung official communications—pag-uusapan namin ng leadership kung anong gagawin namin dito sa Kongreso. Kung whether me power ba kami para bigyang authority yung Executive? Ano ba ang power ng Congress, di ba? Tignan natin yung provisions ng constitution.”

Lagman however believes, “we have the power but that power has alreda been exercised by the late rpesident cory aquino when she was acting both as president and legislature.”

Lagman did tell Duterte that he cannot trade the marcos wealth for the cases filed against the Marcoses. i dont think as far as dropping all of these cases i dont think he has the authority to do that. its possible  but i dont think congress should do that to grant him the authority to exchange the criminal responsbility  of the marcoses for a few pieace of gold bars. i hope the supermajority can see through the designs of the executive and realize theres alreday an existing law”

For his part, Alvarez would rather finish the deliberations on the 2018 budget first. “Ah, no, no no. Sa tingin ko naman hindi priority. Wala pa. Pero para sa akin tapusin na muna natin yung budget, at saka yung ano, pinakamahalaga, itong impeachment, kasi nga ifinile na ito. “

(sots)