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Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday took exception to disparaging comments from the camp of Vice President Ma. Leonor Robredo claiming his office was taking the cudgels for the family of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos in the settlement cases for martial law victims.

“Her statements demean and belittle the work the OSG and its lawyers have been doing for decades to recover ill-gotten wealth,” Calida said in a statement, as he assured that the OSG was committed to protecting the interest of the State.

Calida insisted that all ill-gotten wealth cases should be litigated before the Sandiganbayan and not before the US courts, adding that
participating in the US case would also mean waiving its sovereign immunity.

The OSG and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have turned down the proposed settlement agreement in the New York court case, saying the terms were “grossly disadvantageous to the government” and “not in accord with existing Philippine laws and jurisprudence.”

Calida said the Republic would only get $4 million from the settlement while the victims in the class action would get $13.75 million and would grant immunity from prosecution to former Marcos’ aide Vilma Bautista.

“The government cannot grant immunity to Vilma Bautista. She is a principal defendant in a case currently pending before the Sandiganbayan. The authority of the PCGG (Presidential Commission on Good Government) to grant such immunity is limited only to a witness who can provide material and relevant information or testify against a defendant in an ill-gotten wealth case,” Calida said. (PNA)

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