[Press Statement] PCGG hails the US ruling on Arelma Deposits

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) today supported the decision of the New York State’s highest court that dismissed the claim by human rights victims against the $35 Million Marcos assets deposited with Merrill Lynch New York.  This decision comes on the heels of our own Supreme Court’s ruling barely 2 months ago.  “It is plain that the New York Court took note of our High Court declaration that these were sovereign assets,” PCGG Chairman Andres D. Bautista observed.

Bautista said the decision of the US Court is correct because the $35 Million assets are ill-gotten and therefore belong to the Republic of the Philippines.  “These assets were improperly obtained by Marcos through gross misuse of public office and in grave betrayal of the public trust and therefore forfeited from the moment of misappropriation.”

Bautista is hopeful that the Republic will now be able to enforce the decision and return the money back to the Philippines to be used for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and the Human Rights Victims’ compensation bill.

Bautista again emphasized that the Government is not against the compensation of human rights victims who suffered during Martial Law but said that payment of compensation should go through the proper legislative process.  “This is why the Commission fully supports the passage of the Human Rights Compensation Act by Congress which will pave the way to compensate the human rights victims,” he added.

The $35 Million Marcos assets began from an original $2 Million registered in the name of Arelma Foundation, a Panamanian firm used by the Marcos family and deposited with Merrill Lynch Securities in New York in 1972, which when discovered by PCGG in 2000 had already grown to about $35 Million.

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