Photo by Pia Ranada/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – If he were the Marcoses, President Rodrigo Duterte would only return ill-gotten wealth to the government in exchange for immunity.
"If I were the Marcoses, kung isauli ko man 'yan, sabihin ko sa kanila, maghingi kayo ng immunity. Otherwise, keep the goddamn money at baka isauli mo nga, makulong ka," he said on Tuesday, September 5.
(If I were the Marcoses, if I return it, I'd say to them, ask for immunity. Otherwise, keep the goddamn money because you might return it and get jailed.)
"You have to craft a law there [with a provision] and that is immunity. 'Kung isauli ko 'yan, o, sige, isauli ko, huwag mo ako kukulungin.' Ganoon 'yan. Otherwise, kung tanungin mo, ako si Marcos, bakit ko isauli?" he said.
(You have to craft a law there and that is immunity. If I return it, "Okay, I will, but don't imprison me." It's like that. Otherwise, if you ask me, I'm Marcos, why would I return the money?)
Asked if immunity is what the Marcos family asked from him in exchange for the turnover of some of their wealth, Duterte said no family member suggested it.
"No, they did not ask, because I could not guarantee it. I know that I am not the proper authority to do that," he said, adding later on that only Congress can grant immunity.
The President also refused to take a position on whether the Marcoses should be held criminally liable for stealing funds from the government. (READ: We trust Duterte will end decades of cases – Imee Marcos)
The President repeated that he "accepts" the explanation of the Marcoses that they were only hiding the money temporarily to "protect the economy" after martial law ended in 1981. (READ: Recovering Marcos' ill-gotten wealth: After 30 years, what?)
Duterte still could not state how much exactly the Marcoses will be returning to the government. (READ: Senators to Marcoses: Return all ill-gotten wealth, not just 'crumbs')
He also declined to give his reaction to the Supreme Court's decision to junk former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr's motion questioning the integrity of the 2016 elections, a crucial element of his electoral protest against the victory of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Duterte claimed he could not give a reaction since he has yet to read about the decision. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.