OPTIONS

Kabayan Party List Rep. Harry Roque says neither Congress nor President Duterte can grant the Marcoses immunity from suit as quid pro quo for the return of the Marcos wealth to state coffers.

Roque told the weekly press conference of the minority, “ang constitutional basis for objecting to that law  equal protection clause kasi parang nagkaroon tayo ng class legislation to benefit only  the marcsoes the way to do it is anyone who wants to admit  to an instance of graft and corruption and willing to return can do so within this  period and they will in turn be entitled to immunity if they do so but we cannot legislate especially for the marcoses because that is contrary to the equal protetcion clause”

Roque added any attempt by congress to grant an immunity maybe met with constitutional challenges,  “we can probably legislate put it in very generic language…this will be parang a form of amnesty… will i support that siguro except marami mga challenges kasi not only on the basis of equal protection  but some will argue this can be patently unconstitutional on the provisions on goverment because it will accord impunity to those who are corrupt in govermment thats an argument that can be made.  walang kapangyarihan ang presidente lang na magbigay ng immunity.kapalit ng pagsoli ng tagong yaman.”

Roque recalls that Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez was impeached for agreeing to a compromise with former military comptroller Carlos Garcia. “i think the president is toying with the idea na just to put an end to this lets come up with a law that will afoord them  immunity in exchange for a compromise pero sabi ko although that law is possible it is still suscpetible to constitutional challenge because it is not one of the powers na expressly  enumerated to beling either to the legislative or to congress. all law must not be inimical to public policy  and good moral so some could question immunity on the basis of a settlement  as contrary to good policy and good morals remember General Garcia that became a basis for impeaching merceditas gutierrez  because she agreed to a setttlement return of a lower amount that became betrayal of public trust.”

Roque remins everyone there is alreday settled jurisprudence on any possible compromise. “di kasi ito ang first time na nag attempt ang mga Marcoses na magkaroon ng immunity in return for a compromise in fact naalala yung kaso ng Chavez vs PCGG 2 punto  naresolba doon sa kasong yun dapat di sikreto yung negotiations dapat malaman ng taongbayan at sabi ng SC walang  kapangyarihan ang PCGG na mag accord ng immunity under existing laws immunity is limited only to 2 instances when given by the court to a state witness and under witness protection 2 lang po yan ang presidente naman pwede maggrant ng amnesty para wala nang criminal prosecution pwede ring maggrant ng commutation o pardon  matapos na maconvict ang isang tao . in a way tama si presidente Digong na kailangan ng batas kung gusto ng Marcoses ng immunity dahil sianbi na nga ng Sc di pwede under current status of law ng PCGG or anyone from the executive accordis immunity  in exchange for a settlement di pwede yan so kailangan ng batas  pero ako naman even that law maybe challenged on the basis of constitutionality”

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez for his part wants to see the alleged gold bars in the Marcos wealth first.  “dapat makita natin yung gold. nasaan and how much?”

Buhay Party List Rep. Lito Atienza however said, “we can only do that if we talk to the first lady. for us to determine i can not. we cannot agree on this i believe we should settle the issue . there is an admittion now that they would like to settle i will support any congressional action i will ask the first lady”

Atienza added, “ang nagsasabi noon si mrs marcos ako ang pinagsabihan niya and i reiterate my position which i said last week sinabi sinabi niya  sakin meron silang 7000 tonnes sabi ko sa inyo confirm it with her shes a member of congress. i cannot change that story because  sinabi niya sa akin kaharap pa nga si imee sabi ni imee mayor wag ka makinig sa nanay ko. she told me that she even said  she will help the city of manila with a subway system if i wanted to. papasukin lang yung pera na pinipigil ng gubyerno international yung figure sa kaniya galing yun. tanungin niyo sa kaniya di ko alam. i was in position to inquire further. wala namang denial eh. wala ding admission..”

Atienza also said. “in fairness to her sinabi niya di namin ninakaw yan talagang hilig ng dating pangulo mag ipon ng gold bar binata pa yan nagiipon ng gold bar yan nung ikasal kami maraming gold bars yan….yung 7000 tonnes mas marami yan sa Fort Knox.”

Suarez for his part explained, “kung ang pinaguusapan doon ay someone one of the media here is asking about the gold bars. let me just explain to you the issue of the gold bars so ang tanong natin may gold bars si dating Pangulong yumaong pangulong amrcos ang sagot ko yes im privy to that im aware that he bought a lot of gold bars

ganito yan….during those years of the Marcos regime Macros macapagal di naman tayo ganun ka yaman hirap tayo sa pera…di ka pwedeng maglabas ng pera kung wala kang reserve ang reserve natin ay nasa  new york that is in gold bars but that reserves can be US dollars. ang knowledge ko yung mga gold bars na kuha ng ating mining company ay pinalitan ng dating pangulo ng US dollars but those gold bars were those that were produced by our mining companies. the quantity is im not privy to that but definitely not in tonnes. napakarami naman.”

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), under the law and existing jurisprudence, is authorized to enter into compromise agreements, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon.

 

Drilon, a former justice secretary, made the statement in response to questions by the media as to whether PCGG can enter into compromise agreements for recovery of any ill-gotten wealth.

 

“Under the law, the PCGG is mandated to assist the President in the recovery of ill-gotten wealth,” said Drilon.

 

“In pursuit of its mandate, the PCGG can legally enter into compromise agreements,” Drilon explained.

 

The compromise, Drilon stressed, should be “limited only to civil cases” as in the forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth.

 

Drilon however clarified that while there is clear jurisprudence establishing PCGG’s authority to enter into such agreements, the validity of the stipulations in the compromise agreement must pass judicial scrutiny.

 

“Any compromise agreement shall be valid and binding only upon court approval. No agreement can be made contrary to law or the Constitution,” he emphasized.

 

Drilon also clarified that he is not supporting any compromise agreement but was merely explaining PCGG’s authority.

 

The former justice secretary listed at least three cases where the court upheld the power of the PCGG to enter into compromise agreements.

 

In the 2005 case of Republic and Jose O. Campos, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, the Court ruled that the compromise agreement between PCGG and alleged Marcos dummy Potenciano Ilusorio, “must be accorded utmost respect.” The said agreement was approved by then President Fidel Ramos and subsequently approved by the Sandiganbayan.

 

In Benedicto v. Board of Administrators of Television Stations RPN, BBC, and IBC, Drilon said the Court ruled that the power of the PCGG to enter into compromise agreements was “indisputable.”

 

In Chavez v. PCGG, the Court also said that the PCGG may enter into compromise agreements involving cases of ill-gotten wealth, “pursuant to EO 14’s objective of securing a just and expeditious recovery of such wealth.”

 

Drilon explained that these are only some in a long line of cases showing that the authority of the PCGG to enter into compromise agreements in civil cases is settled and established. –

It would be crazy to grant the Marcoses immunity in exchange for their alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Opposition Congressman, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said,”It’s a crazy idea that is not in any of Philippine legal principles. For example, state witness immunity is usually reserved for not the most guilty.  Here, the persons to be immunized are the direct perpetrators or conspirators at the least. And now that they admit having stolen wealth from the people and managed to stash it away despite massive government efforts to recover, they are also obstructors of justice. “

Baguilat argues that  If the President’s idea pushes through, “let’s abandon all concepts of law and justice. I can steal anything from anyone, make money out of it for awhile, then offer to return and get amnesty for it. Heck, i may even be buried as a hero.”

Baguilat reminded media, “ this is more than just the money. It’s about justice and accountability for the crimes against the people during Martial Law – the killings, the torture, the suppression of freedoms and the degradation of our democratic institutions. Are they proposing that with one legislative fiat, everything will be forgotten?”

For Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman it simply could not be done, “It is well settled in Philippine jurisprudence that criminal liability is not subject to compromise. In Chavez vs. PCGG (December 9, 1998), the Supreme Court voided the challenged compromise agreement in so far as it granted the Marcoses immunity from criminal prosecution. A culprit who returns what he has stolen is not liberated from criminal prosecution. It is a mockery of justice and an insult to the aggrieved sovereign people to exempt the Marcoses from criminal culpability in exchange for a few pieces of stolen gold bars or even for their entire ill-gotten hoard. A criminal must pay for his crime despite his having belatedly returned the object of his transgression.”

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said, “Escaping liability and accountability, as well as a barefaced revision of history are the real plans and intentions of the Marcoses in their supposed offer of returning the dictator’s plundered wealth…We will oppose this move every step of the way…Justice must be served and the Marcoses should be punished for what they did to our country and people during Martial law. This is not just an issue of returning their ill gotten wealth back to the Filipino people but the primary issue here is that of obtaining justice,”

It would be crazy to grant the Marcoses immunity in exchange for their alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Opposition Congressman, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said,”It’s a crazy idea that is not in any of Philippine legal principles. For example, state witness immunity is usually reserved for not the most guilty.  Here, the persons to be immunized are the direct perpetrators or conspirators at the least. And now that they admit having stolen wealth from the people and managed to stash it away despite massive government efforts to recover, they are also obstructors of justice. “

Baguilat argues that  If the President’s idea pushes through, “let’s abandon all concepts of law and justice. I can steal anything from anyone, make money out of it for awhile, then offer to return and get amnesty for it. Heck, i may even be buried as a hero.”

Baguilat reminded media, “ this is more than just the money. It’s about justice and accountability for the crimes against the people during Martial Law – the killings, the torture, the suppression of freedoms and the degradation of our democratic institutions. Are they proposing that with one legislative fiat, everything will be forgotten?”

For Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman it simply could not be done, “It is well settled in Philippine jurisprudence that criminal liability is not subject to compromise. In Chavez vs. PCGG (December 9, 1998), the Supreme Court voided the challenged compromise agreement in so far as it granted the Marcoses immunity from criminal prosecution. A culprit who returns what he has stolen is not liberated from criminal prosecution. It is a mockery of justice and an insult to the aggrieved sovereign people to exempt the Marcoses from criminal culpability in exchange for a few pieces of stolen gold bars or even for their entire ill-gotten hoard. A criminal must pay for his crime despite his having belatedly returned the object of his transgression.”

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said, “Escaping liability and accountability, as well as a barefaced revision of history are the real plans and intentions of the Marcoses in their supposed offer of returning the dictator’s plundered wealth…We will oppose this move every step of the way…Justice must be served and the Marcoses should be punished for what they did to our country and people during Martial law. This is not just an issue of returning their ill gotten wealth back to the Filipino people but the primary issue here is that of obtaining justice,”