Claim: The PCGG stole the Marcos family’s “private wealth”.
The Facts: On May 30, 2022, a Facebook page called “Filipino of the Future” claimed that the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) stole the Marcos family’s private wealth.
The page alleges that the PCGG confiscated the family’s funds without due process. The page frequently publishes content that is pro-Marcos.
“PCGG pala ang nagnakaw ng mga private wealth ng Pamilya Marcos dahil pinagsesequester nila ng walang due process? Naniniwala ba kayo na dapat ipa audit ni Pangulong Bongbong Marcos ang PCGG na nag akusa at nag imbento ng mga kasinungalingan para lang siraan ang pamilya Marcos?”
The Marcos family’s assets sequestered by the PCGG since its foundation in 1986 are not privately owned by the Marcoses. Jovito Salonga, the former PPCGG chairperson, wrote about how the Marcos family used their political power to obtain their illegal wealth.
The Marcoses monopolized certain industries to be placed under the control of their cronies. These cronies amassed wealth for the Marcos family and their businesses at the expense of the lives of other Filipinos.
One of the cronies was Roberto Benedicto, Marcos’ fraternity brother, who was made the head of the Philippine National Bank, and while in that position, he used the bank’s funds to finance his own and other crony-owned businesses. He also “took control of the Philippine Exchange Co. (Philex) which handled all the international trade of sugar for local hacienderos. Through Philex, Benedicto bought cheaply from local producers and made enormous profits abroad.” Sugar sales reached US$1 billion.
Another crony was Antonio Floirendo who held control over one of the biggest banana plantations in the world. He partnered with the Bureau of Prisons to have prisoners work as cheap laborers in the plantations. Prisoners were treated poorly, being woken up at 3 in the morning and being forced to work overtime, with no job or health security.
The bananas were given special refrigerators and special cushions in storage and transport to ensure their quality. If the bananas did not reach their standards, they were not fed to the prisoners or the millions of starving Filipinos, but to special cows whose meat was reserved solely for the Marcoses and their cronies.
Another case of Marcos monopolizing an industry is the Coco Levy Fund Scam of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., Eduardo Cojuangco, Juan Ponce Enrile, and other Marcos cronies. This involved taxing coconut farmers to supposedly fund the Coconut Investment Company and the Philippine Coconut Authority, both of which were institutions that were supposed to support ordinary coconut farmers.
An estimated $475 million was raised from the levy, which was not used to support the farmers. This money was used to finance Enrile’s businesses and Imelda’s projects instead.
Jose Yao Campos, another Marcos crony, admitted to being a financial frontman for Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and his family. In 1986, he submitted a statement to the Philippine government admitting to have set up at least 34 shell companies for the dictator. He also turned over $2.2 billion shares of stock and a list of real estate holdings he managed for the Marcoses.
On November 9, 2018, the Sandiganbayan affirmed Imelda Marcos’ conviction of seven counts of graft. She illegally funneled government funds to Swiss foundations during her term as a government official during the Marcos regime. The amount of illegally-transferred funds is estimated to be about P10 billion in today’s currency.
As of 2020, the PCGG has recovered a total of P174.2 billion of the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth. They are currently going after P125 billion more.
Why we fact-checked this: The claim denies the atrocities, human rights abuses, and corruption perpetrated by the Marcos family and their cronies. Ordinary Filipinos were starving while the Marcoses and their cronies amassed their wealth and ate special cows.
The post also aims to discredit the PCGG as a government agency that was created solely to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family. This can affect their credibility as a quasi-judicial agency in their investigations of other cases of graft and corruption.