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27 March 1998
Filed by Ralph Remigio

Imelda reveals more secret bank accounts

Imelda Marcos admitted for the first time that her family has more than $800 million insecret bank accounts abroad that she would give to poor Filipinos if she wins the may presidential election. She claims that this money does not include the $540 million her husband had in various accounts in two Swiss banks, which the gov’t claims to be part of his alleged ill-gotten wealth.

She also admitted that their wealth was due to her husband’s "diligence, hard work, foresight, entrepreneurship, and God’s blessing." She showed a photocopy of a hand-written "will" by Marcos saying his "worldly goods have been placed in the custody and for the disposition of the Marcos foundations dedicated to the welfare of the Filipino people."

On the Campaign Trail (p. 2)

A meeting of Batangas mayors called by Renato De Villa (Reporma) was successfully "sabotaged by Lakas members in Lipa City. The Reporma media bureau said "money and forms of enticements were offered to the mayors to break up the scheduled meeting between Reporma slate and the 34 Batangas mayors at the Club Victorino." De Villa said, "Money politics. This is precisely what the Reporma is trying to abolish in our political process..."

Lakas national campaign manager Cesar Sarino, also former GSIS General Manager, said about the GSIS funds, "All the safeguards against such abuses are in place in the GSIS: the Commission on Audit, our own internal audit, and our resident ombudsman pore over every detail of our daily transactions." Sarino criticized those who have accused him of diverting the funds and urged them instead to conduct an investigation on the matter. He said the agency's finances even improved during his stint as general manager.

Alfredo Lim (LP) vowed to "save the environment from further degradation and achieve sustainable development around the country... The long term protection of the environment will not be sacrificed for the short term profitability of any investor, foreign or local, private or government... We will treat the environment the same way we must treat our own children and women - with much respect and deep consideration. We will not allow anyone to continue raping and prostituting our forests, seas and other natural resources."

Tatad (PRP vice-pres. bet) urged organizers of televised forums for presidential candidates to include the most vital issues on the economy, national security and foreign relations in these discussions to test the actual preparedness of the candidates for the highest office. He said that the debates have been "generally uninformative and soporific" with no "fundamental and truly searching questions" being asked to give the public an insight into the world-view and actual grasp of the issues of the various candidates.

Miriam (PRP) scored a victory when the Comelec overruled its Cebu election officer's order to demolish the PRP billboard in from the the party headquarters in Cebu City.

Bank lending rates are likely remain abnormally high until June this year as a result of the national government's deficit spending, Ramon Bagatsing (opposition senatorial candidate) said. The Department of Finance earler reported that the government posted a P5.465-billion cash budget deficit in the first two months this year. "The administration has not lived up to its pledge to cut spending. And the more it spends, the more it borrows. The more it borrows, the greater the upward push on loan rates," Bagatsing said.

Macapagal-Arroyo (Lakas) called for the full modernization of agriculture to achieve food security in the next millenium. She said the party's platform calls for agricultural diversification by encouraging farmers to plant a greater assortment of crops, as well as breed a wider variety of livestock.

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