The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the agency tasked to hunt and recover the Marcos ill-gotten assets, only learned of the alleged offshore trust of Ilocos Gov. Imee Marcos Manotoc and her sons in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) from the report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).
“We learned about it a few weeks ago,” said PCGG chair Andres Bautista. Without commenting on whether the details in the PCIJ report were sufficient to launch an investigation, Bautista said the PCGG was “duty bound to investigate” the Sintra Trust.
“And depending upon informed preliminary findings, [we will] decide whether to pursue the matter,” he said. The PCGG was created soon after the first Edsa People Power Revolution to go after the wealth illegally amassed by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his family and his cronies.
The PCIJ report said that Imee is one of the beneficiaries of Sintra Trust, which formed in June 2002 in the BVI, as shown by documents uncovered in a yearlong investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Sintra Trust and two other offshore companies linked to Imee Marcos were not listed in the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) that Imee filed as a lawmaker and provincial governor, the PCIJ said.
Rod Domingo Jr., the lead counsel in the class suit by 9,539 Marcos human rights abuse victims, is convinced that the alleged offshore trust originated from the ill-gotten wealth secreted out of the country by Imee’s father, the late dictator.
Domingo said his American cocounsel, Robert Swift, will ask Hawaii Judge Manuel Real to have the Sintra Trust satisfy the $2-billion award for damages that he handed down in 1995 against the estate of the dictator.
“Imee can’t put up the trust on her own. All of that came from the Marcos estate. So we can run after the account,” Domingo said in an interview.
The lawyers of the claimants have to convince the court that the account is part of the Marcos estate, since the judgment was against the Marcos estate and not against Imee Marcos.