Salonga Says Marcos Data Is Withheld : Objects to U.S. Policy of Turning Over Only Non-Personal Papers
A government minister charged today that the United States is withholding key documents the Philippines feels it is entitled to have in its bid to recover deposed ruler Ferdinand E. Marcos’ hidden wealth.
Minister Jovito Salonga, head of the Good Government Commission, returned Wednesday from a 19-day mission to the United States and reported to President Corazon Aquino that he brought back evidence detailing how Marcos had illegally stashed away assets during his 20 years in power.
Salonga told a news conference today that the 2,300 pages of Marcos documents he received from the State Department in Washington on March 18 were all “non-personal” papers.
Customs Held Papers
“It was made clear to us that the customs authorities in Honolulu did not turn over to us the personal papers of Mr. Marcos,” Salonga said.
“I raised a question. How can the customs authorities in Honolulu distinguish between personal and non-personal? What is the basis for the distinction? Even a purely personal check can involve the disbursement of public funds and that cannot be personal,” Salonga said.
“Now you asked me: Am I satisfied with what the Reagan Administration has done? In so far as there are still papers that are being kept by them and which we believe we are entitled to get, we are not yet satisfied,” Salonga said.
Won’t Charge Obstruction
Asked if the Reagan Administration was attempting to obstruct the commission’s efforts, Salonga said, “Unless I have a definite evidence that will prove that they are sanitizing (documents), I will not go out of my way to make such an assertion.”
Salonga said the bulk of Marcos’ allegedly ill-gotten wealth--described in the billions of dollars--was deposited in bank accounts in Switzerland by the deposed president, close associates and subordinates.
Salonga declined to estimate the total amount of assets sent abroad by Marcos and his cronies, saying new documents turn up almost daily.
He said the commission has evidence linking Marcos to properties in the United States, England, Austria, Switzerland and Canada.
Asked if the commission has evidence to show Marcos also has properties in Japan and Australia, Salonga said, “There are many, many boxes of documents we still have to cover.”
Salonga said his commission will file civil and criminal charges against Marcos in Manila in 30 to 60 days for violations of the graft and corrupt practices act.