Philippines recovers $29M from Marcos accounts

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government has recovered more than $29 million from the Swiss accounts of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and is still searching for more of his hidden wealth 28 years after he was toppled, an official said Wednesday.

The money, recovered over the last week, is part of the more than $712 million from Marcos' secret Swiss accounts now in government hands, said Andres Bautista, chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the agency in charge of recovering Marcos' allegedly ill-gotten wealth.

The government won ownership of the funds after several years of litigation in Singapore courts over claims by victims of human rights violations under Marcos' rule and private foundations representing the Marcoses, Bautista said at a news conference.

Authorities have already recovered more than $4 billion from an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion amassed by the Marcoses during the dictator's 20-year rule, he said. Bautista said last month that the government was targeting at least 50 billion pesos ($1.1 billion) more.

"There is still a lot of work that can be done in respect to pursuing ill-gotten wealth," he said Wednesday. "We should not allow ill-gotten wealth, the taking of ill-gotten wealth, to go unpunished."

The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that the Marcoses wealth in excess of their total legal income of around $304,000 from 1965 to 1986 was presumed to be ill-gotten. Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 without admitting any wrongdoing during his presidency.

Bautista said the government had filed more than 200 civil cases for recovery and forfeiture of ill-gotten assets, including real estate, amounting to about 30-40 billion pesos ($667-$890 million) from the Marcos family, their cronies and associates.

It is also seeking more than 150 paintings of "prominent masters and artists" collected by the Marcos family that went missing after the Marcoses were forced to flee from the presidential palace during the February 1986 "people power" uprising.

Bautista declined to comment when asked whether he believes Marcos' widow, Imelda, and their three children are still living off their hidden wealth. Imelda Marcos is a member of the House of Representatives. Her eldest child, daughter Imee, is governor of their northern home province of Ilocos Norte, while her son, Ferdinand Jr., is a senator. Her other daughter, Irene, has kept away from politics.

Related Headlines

  • Philippine typhoon death toll could top 10,000

    As many as 10,000 people are believed to have died in one Philippine city alone when one of the worst storms on record sent giant sea waves, washing away homes, schools and ... 

  • Hiroo Onoda

    Japan's last WWII straggler dies at 91

    Hiroo Onoda, the last Japanese imperial soldier to emerge from hiding in a jungle in the Philippines and surrender, 29 years after the end of World War II, has died. He was 91 

  • Philippine economy grew 7.2 percent in 2013

    The Philippine economy expanded 7.2 percent in 2013 despite the havoc wrought in the last months of the year by a super typhoon, an earthquake and a weekslong gun battle that ... 

  • David Beckham

    Beckham visits typhoon-devastated Philippine city

    David Beckham visited the typhoon-devastated Philippine city of Tacloban on Thursday as part of UNICEF's relief efforts. The central city is still struggling to deal with the ... 

Find your future job here