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By Prince Golez

Malacanang defended on Friday President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that the ill-gotten wealth allegations against the family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos remain unproven.

“The claimed is that, the Marcoses have stolen billions of dollars – worth. If I remember right, they were saying 400-something billion dollars?” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.

“Now, the question now is, where in the heavens name, did the Marcoses get those so much wealth?” added Panelo.

The official cited the trial of Imelda Marcos, wife of former President Marcos, in New York when former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Jaime Laya testified that the reported stolen gold bars from the central bank were intact.

“I confronted Jaime Laya, eh totoo daw, talagang intact. And when I confronted the late Espenilla, hindi niya raw exactly kung nasaan. But to my mind if Jaime Laya at that time, who was a witness in the trial testifying to the effect na maraming gold bars, eh mas maniniwala ako sa kanya,” according to him.

Rumors has it that the huge fortune amassed by the Marcoses came from the World War II “Yamashita” gold and Vatican gold.

Panelo, however, maintained that the Philippines did not have funds amounting to $400 billion at that time for it to be stolen during the Marcos regime.

“With respect to the—if you are saying you stole from me 400 billion dollars and I have only 1 billion, how in heaven’s name can you be stealing from me when I don’t have that kind of money, parang iyon ang dating,” Duterte’s mouthpiece added.

Asked where he got his $400 billion figure, Panelo said, “Iyong 400 billion, matagal ko nang naririnig iyon; noong ‘70s ko pa naririnig iyon eh.”

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