PCGG recovers P1.3B Marcos loot

Posted at 02/12/2014 10:14 AM | Updated as of 02/12/2014 10:44 PM

MANILA - The Presidential Commission on Good Government has recovered around US$29 million or over 1.3 billion pesos in hidden wealth of former president Ferdinand Marcos that was held up in litigation in Singapore.

In a press briefing, PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista said the commission has remitted US$20.2 million and 5.3 million pounds sterling to the Bureau of Treasury last February 5 and 10.

"These amounts collectively are around approximately 29 million US dollars or over 1.3 billion pesos. These recovered amounts form part of the Swiss bank accounts of former President Ferdinand Marcos and his family that were ordered forfeited by the Philippine Supreme Court in 2003 but which were held up in litigation in Singapore since then," he said.

In 1997, the Federal Court of Switzerland ordered that the secret Marcos accounts in Swiss banks be transferred to the Republic of the Philippines but subject to certain conditions. The Swiss court said the funds should be invested first in "AA" banks and that there had to be a final Philippine Supreme Court decision in respect to the matter and that an escrow arrangement be entered into the Republic of the Philippines.

The Philippine government then engaged the Philippine National Bank as its escrow agent. "Since there were no AA banks in the Philippines, we had to invest these funds in several banks in Singapore including West Landes (WestLB) Bank," Bautista said.

In July 2003, the Philippine Supreme Court came out with the decision granting the forfeiture of these bank deposits, which allowed the PNB to remit most of the monies back to the Philippines and the Bureau of Treasury except for 2 accounts in WestLB. At that time, the accounts held $6.8 million and 4.2 million British pound sterling.

The funds in the two were held up in Singapore after the US lawyer of martial law human rights victims filed a complaint. The bank then initiated an interpleader action against the Republic of the Philippines, PNB, human rights victims and so-called Marcos foundations.

On August 10, 2012, Judge Andrew Ang of the Singapore High Court sustained the claim of PNB that it had legal title to the funds as trustee of the Republic.

The Singapore Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court decision on December 30, 2013.

Bautista said a board will be formed to determine who is the proper beneficiary of the funds.

He said the money will definitely not be used to compensate human rights victims because enough funds have already been remitted to fulfill the P10 billion compensation mandate by law.