KARAPATAN: Marcos Jr. lies in full view of int’l audience in ABC interview

In the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. manages to personally avoid incisive questions regarding the grave human rights violations and the plunder of government coffers under his father’s brutal martial law regime. He has subordinates to take the heat for him and attack dogs from the NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) to red- and terrorist-tag, threaten, harass and intimidate dissenters, or even to set them up for extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance, or illegal arrest and detention.

Not so in the case of Marcos Jr.’s one-on-one interview with ABC News in Australia, where a candid reporter fielded him hard-hitting questions on these two subjects. Marcos Jr. was caught on camera making light about a question on plunder. When confronted, he tried to squirm his way out of his predicament by claiming, in so many words, that accusations of plunder were all propaganda, that that his family had lost everything when they left the country in 1986 and that any monies later recovered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) were the result of quitclaims signed by his family.

It is a matter of record that the Marcoses brought 22 crates of cash, freshly printed Philippine notes valued at P27 million, 24 gold bricks and over 400 pieces of jewelry worth up to $559,630, among other things, upon their exile to Honolulu. Much of this loot has been turned over to the Philippine government. While the PCGG did lose several cases against the Marcos estate due to incompetence and corruption, it did win some cases, enough for it to report in 2022 that a total of P265-billion cash and assets had been recovered from 1986 to December 2021 from the Marcoses. The PCGG estimates that around $6 billion has yet to be recovered.

Marcos Jr. also conveniently left out that his family, including himself, fought a 17-year court battle to retain control over $350 million in secret Swiss bank accounts, whose value had grown to more than $600 million by the time the Supreme Court ruled with finality that the money should go to the Philippine treasury.

His administration’s continuing non-cooperation with the International Criminal Court in investigating the Duterte regime’s crimes against humanity is likewise reiterated. Marcos Jr. is clearly more interested in playing politics with the Dutertes, instead of pursuing justice and accountability for drug war victims.

With this damning interview, Marcos Jr. has suddenly realized that his calculated posturing has not been enough to erase the terrible imprints that his father’s tyrannical and plunderous rule have left on world public opinion. He has lost points in his international campaign to project both himself and his father’s martial law regime as benign—perhaps even to the point of bungling his government’s efforts to lobby for a seat at the UN Security Council.