Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Philippines recovers 1.8bln dlrs from Marcos: official

MANILA (AFP) - - The Philippines has recovered at least 90 billion pesos (1.83 billion dollars) from deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos's family and allies, a government official said Tuesday.

Narciso Nario, a commissioner with the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), said this disproved accusations by some legislators that his agency should be abolished because it was not doing its job.

"We were able to recover 90 billion pesos in cash and other assets including lands and houses that were part of the Marcos ill-gotten wealth, since the PCGGs founding," he told the agency's employees.

The PCGG was created in 1986 to recover assets from Marcos and his allies following the popular revolt earlier that year in which he was deposed.

Nario cited the recovery last month of 261 million pesos in cash dividends from a Philippine telecommunications firm that the courts had recently ruled were illegally acquired by Marcos cronies.

Marcos ruled the country from 1965 to 1986, much of the time under martial rule, during which he is alleged to have enriched himself, his family and his allies through graft and corruption.

Marcos died in exile in 1989 but his family has regained some of its political prominence.

No one knows just how much Marcos and his associates stole and estimates vary from five to 10 billion dollars, much of it hidden in overseas bank accounts, including some in Switzerland.

After Marcos was overthrown, the Swiss government froze assets and 683 million dollars in his accounts.

Most of these assets were eventually transferred to the Philippine government but a full recovery has been complicated by the fact that much of it has been deposited in accounts held by former Marcos associates.

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