Palace: Congress’ nod needed for compromise with Marcoses
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A compromise between the government and the Marcoses would require the approval of Congress, but this may face challenges if it singles out the former first family, Malacañang said yesterday.

“The President has spoken. He said if there are (Marcos) properties that can be used to support the country, a law is needed. It is clear to the President that the decision does not rest on him alone. It is also a decision to be made by Congress because we have a law that punishes those who are guilty of plunder,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said over dzBB. 

“Such law will be facing a lot of challenges and a law solely about the Marcoses cannot be passed. It will violate what we call the equal protection law. But the President has said any agreement between the government and the Marcoses would require a law,” he added. 

Roque reiterated the government has not struck a deal with the Marcos family. 

On Sunday, documents containing a proposed compromise deal between the government and the Marcoses circulated online, drawing flak from critics who believe the Duterte administration is trying to revise history.

The document, drafted by the Lozano & Lozano-Endriano Law Office, suggests the creation of a legal team that would look into the government’s compromise agreement with the Marcoses. The document contained an acknowledgment letter signed by Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. 

Panelo has clarified that his office acknowledges receipt of any letter coming from any citizen “as a matter of courtesy and policy.”

He stressed Malacañang has not acted on the proposal. 

In a letter to President Duterte and coursed through Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II last Sept. 19, lawyer Oliver Lozano, a Marcos loyalist, cited the need for “appropriate action” on the alternatives regarding the compromise. The alternatives cited were compromise without congressional approval, compromise with optional congressional approval and acceptance of donation from the Marcos family. 

The letter was sent a month after Duterte disclosed the Marcos family has expressed readiness to return wealth accumulated during the 20-year presidency of former president Ferdinand Marcos.

Lozano said Duterte has to act on any of the alternatives to “promptly give unifying social justice for all through massive economic development and world-class rehabilitation” as well as enable the government to pay its foreign and local debts leading to political liberation, “economic emancipation and social concord.” 

Also in the document is a draft executive order lifting the EO that called for the sequestering of the Marcos wealth. Lozano also attached a draft House bill granting immunity to the Marcoses and allowing a compromise on their sequestered assets. 

“When the news broke out, we were surprised. When we searched the internet, we found out that it was an offer submitted by attorney Oliver Lozano. Anyone can submit an offer to Malacañang,” Roque said. 

“There is no agreement. We do not know if it was sanctioned by the Marcoses,” he added. 

Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. denied any knowledge that his family has agreed to return a portion of their alleged ill-gotten wealth as part of a compromise agreement with the government.

“The Marcos family has no knowledge or information on that apparent exchange and service of document between Attorney Lozano and the office of Secretary Sal Panelo,” the former senator said.

He stressed that Lozano “does not represent any member of the Marcos family or the estate of the late president Ferdinand Marcos.”

Lozano, for his part, claimed he was only making a suggestion “as a concerned citizen.”

He also confirmed the statements of Marcos that he does not represent the family of the late dictator.

Asked for details about the Marcos wealth, Lozano said he has no idea on the exact amount, but said his proposal includes the creation of the team that will audit the entire wealth left by the dictator.

He said he has yet to hear from Malacañang since the letter from Panelo, who said they would study his proposal to create a legal team.

“They have not given any target date (to respond to my proposal). But I will follow up,” Lozano said in Filipino. – Paolo Romero, Janvic Mateo

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