KASAMA Vol. 13 No. 3 / July-August-September 1999 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network
Marcos Billions on the Web
"Welcome to the Missing Marcos Billions Website" is the opening greeting to Internet travellers when they arrive at http://www.marcosbillions.com/
At the start of August this year Australian investigator Reiner Jacobi and lawyer David Chaikin launched a new web site to open wide the discussions about the Marcos billions. They say, "this site is being published due to the attempts to suppress the free press of the Philippines," and will be "complemented by a comprehensive documentary site which will cover the Marcos Dictatorship and the tracing and recovery of the illicit assets of the Marcoses and their cronies."
The background wallpaper on the page is a photo of a modest, almost demure, Imelda Marcos in a white veil. The introduction gives this brief history: "In February 1986 Dictator Ferdinand Marcos and wife Imelda fled the Philippines. They took with them billions of dollars stolen from the Philippines people. It took the Swiss banks thirteen years to return some of this stolen loot. The vast bulk of it is still missing, hidden away in secret accounts in Switzerland. Here we identify the main players in Switzerland and the Philippines who have conspired to conceal at least 13.2 Billion $US of Marcos' assets. Reiner Jacobi's revelations have touched a raw nerve with President Estrada who is now suppressing the hitherto free press of the Philippines."
Meantime, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported President Estrada saying in a radio interview that stories about an alleged new deal with the Marcoses were pure speculation. "I do not bother with baseless, empty speculation because if I did, I would be wasting my time." Though it was Imelda Marcos who had claimed that a settlement deal would be completed "very soon," Mr. Estrada took a shot at newspapers for picking up the story. Asked if he would "discipline" Marcos for bragging about the supposed deal, he said: "I think she has also the right to talk." He also said freedom of expression was one of the rights of Filipinos in a democracy. (PDI Interactive, 26/8/99; "Marcos loot hunt now on the Web")
Check out Murray Horton's article "Imelda Admits to Huge Marcos Fortune" about Imelda Marcos' "We own practically everything" admission to the Philippine press in December last year.