Law needed to ensure possible Marcos deal addresses all issues: Palace

MANILA — Malacañang on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to ask Congress to set the parameters regarding a possible deal for the return of the Marcos wealth ensures that possible negotiations address all issues.

Earlier, Duterte said Congress has to pass a law in order for the government to proceed with the negotiations with the family of former president Ferdinand Marcos for the return of ‘hidden wealth’ since this could involve granting immunity to the Marcoses from suit.

Marcos critics have balked at the idea of granting immunity to the Marcoses.

At a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that it is good that these concerns are being raised.

“This is precisely what the President made public, the overtures of the Marcos family, and has asked Congress to deliberate the matter and to come up with legislation giving authority and guidelines,” he said.

“This measure will ensure that negotiations abide by the law and advance the national interest and the demands of justice,” Abella said.

The Palace official said that Duterte has also left it to Congress to decide whether the government should proceed and how to proceed.

“One major issue our esteemed lawmakers shall have to deliberate is whether it’s better to continue current efforts to regain what rightfully belongs to the government now going on for 31 years or to negotiate a settlement that would obtain billions of pesos for the nation’s use now,” he said.

“The President has apparently left that decision to our legislators, and the government will proceed only after Congress enacts a measure authorizing negotiations and setting parameters on the conduct of talks and the eventual disposition of recovered assets,” Abella said.