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August 1, 2014

Hidden wealth, plundered wealth

It is a story of a shrinking loot.  In 1986, it was estimated at a mind-boggling $30B.  Ten years later, it was down to $20B.   In another decade,  $10B. (Lately, it has been $5B- $10B, perhaps preparing to reduce it further to $5B?)  Still, a gargantuan amount by any measure.   

The assertion that Marcos plundered the National Treasury proceeds crudely from these premises:  Marcos owns only X pesos based on income according to his Income Tax Returns.  Yet he has X dollars hid in various bank accounts around the world plus other countless expensive properties massively disproportionate to his means.  Therefore, he plundered the Treasury. 

Logic 101 though would demand that to make that conclusion, at least one more premise should be present: Marcos has/had no other source.   Yet on the issue of Marcos wealth, this seems like an acceptable omission, a given, thus it need not even be stated.  Should you counter, “but there could be other sources?” you are likely to be jeered:  “… you too believe that yarn that he got it from Yamashita, idiot?!” 

Whatever it is, a yarn or a true story, real or imagined, logic is logic.  The premise that Marcos has had no other source should be verified as true, along with the other premises, before the conclusion assumes validity and correctness.  Else, it is just that:  a wealth unexplained.    To assert unexplained therefore plunder— is an illogic. 

In the spirit of truth and justice, one would be asked to explain: okay, if this was not plundered from the treasury, how in heaven’s name did you get this wealthy?  Unfortunately, the one who should do the explaining is dead, long dead and refrigerated.  Is it correct to assume that the wife or children should know everything?  To his credit, soon after his ouster and when fuzzy details about his colossal wealth were starting to be exposed, he offered to explain: let me come home and I will respond to your accusations, he implored.  Sadly, in vain.

It would be interesting to know how the post 86 generation think of this case. 

I suggested not just once in online forums that to make a clear case of plunder, an exhaustive audit of the big transactions during the regime should be done for it would inevitably show how plunder was committed if plunder really occurred.  Stolen funds show up as overprice or as ghost projects/purchases or as some grafting innovation which any competent and keen accountant could easily spot.  Since we are talking here of an estimated  10 billion dollars, roughly equivalent to a few hundred billions of pesos, plunder of this magnitude should be leaving its trail as wide as a ten lane superhighway. That would be useful to affirm the claim that Marcos looted the Treasury in billions of dollars and the young would be more believing instead of buying into anecdotes they come across from time to time on the Internet about wartime gold bars finding their way into the underground rooms of Marcos ancestral home.

At a time when any comparable project has not seen realization for so long, the young are certainly mystified and fascinated at how such a supposedly ultra-rapacious President while virtually scooping out the entire contents of the Treasury like the bandit of old could yet build a stupendous array of ambitious, strategic infrastructure projects all at once.   


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