(MNS Photo)

MANILA, Sept 29 (Mabuhay) — A Sandiganbayan decision ordering a bank initially suspected to be owned by the Marcoses to pay the government around P96 million and $5.4 million in ill-gotten wealth debunks revisionist narratives that former President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies did not commit plunder.

“This is a welcome development. It comes nearly 35 years after the dictator Marcos was ousted in 1986 and nearly a quarter of a century after this case was filed in the Sandiganbayan. Certainly, this debunks the revisionist narrative of the Marcos loyalists that the Marcos family and his cronies did not commit plunder and had no ill-gotten wealth during the time the dictator was in Malacanang,” Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Carlos Zarate said.

In its decision, the Sandiganbayan Second Division required Traders Royal Bank (TRB, now Royal Traders Holding Co., Inc.) to pay the face value of peso denominated bank certificates amounting to P30 million and P65.98 million in 1974, and 1975 to 1978, respectively.

The bank is also ordered to pay another set of bank certificates amounting to $5.435 million, issued from 1975 to 1979.

The bank certificates were recovered from the Marcoses when they landed in Hawaii in 1986, following Ferdinand Marcos’ ouster through People Power revolution. They were held by the US government and became the subject of an interpleader case to determine who were their rightful owners.

“Very clearly, this foreign judgement that is now being recognized by the Sandiganbayan is proof that when the Marcoses fled to Hawaii, dala-dala nila hindi lang milyon-milyon, bilyon-bilyon na cash and other proof of funds that they plundered including bank certificates from the former Traders Royal Bank,” Zarate said.

Former Philippine first lady and now congresswoman, Imelda Marcos, kisses the glass case of her late husband president Ferdinand Marcos during a visit to the mausoleum on her 85th birthday in Batac town, Ilocos norte, north of Manila on July 2, 2014. Ted Aljibe, Agence France-Presse

Former Philippine first lady and now congresswoman, Imelda Marcos, kisses the glass case of her late husband president Ferdinand Marcos during a visit to the mausoleum on her 85th birthday in Batac town, Ilocos norte, north of Manila on July 2, 2014. Ted Aljibe, Agence France-Presse

Zarate said the Marcos family and their loyalists will do anything to continue to paint a good picture of the dictator and his regime.

“They are disciples of [the] principle that you repeat and repeat this lie and probably, eventually people will believe it, especially those generation that were born after the EDSA revolution, EDSA uprising. It’s very important that we have to counter this revisionist narrative because they want to hoodwink, especially the younger generation now hindi naabutan yung madugong batas militar that is the golden era of the Philippines which is totally untrue,” he said.

Under Marcos rule’, the Philippine poverty rate rose from 41 percent in 1965 to 58.9 percent in 1985 – a year before his ouster.

The Philippines’ foreign debt also rose from $1 billion in 1965 – his first year in office – to $28 billion before the 1986 EDSA People Power revolt.

From 1978-1991, the country’s debt stood at more than 200 percent of exports, peaking in 1985 during the last full year of Marcos.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth peaked right after Marcos’s declaration of martial law in 1972, reaching nearly 9 percent in 1973 and 1976, partly driven by a commodity boom when the prices of major Philippine commodity exports like coconut and sugar went up.

However, it was also under Marcos when the country hit the worst recession in history: a 7.3-percent contraction for 2 successive years in 1984 and 1985, as his grip on power waned.

Zarate said that although the decision can still be appealed to the higher court, it is already a victory for them.

“It has been long coming but victory that we have to welcome and show to the people that, see, there is another evidence that the Marcos plundered our resources and it comes in the heels of almost 49 years after Marcos declared Martial law,” he said.

“We have to continue pursuing this. The latest data provided to us by the PCGG, ang narecover pa lang talaga natin, P174 billion or roughly $3.4 billion. According to some records, more or less $10 billion yung na plunder ng Marcos family and his cronies. We have a long way to go to recover this ill-gotten wealth.”(MNS)

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