Solicitor General open to compromise agreement with Marcos family

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 11) — Solicitor General Jose Calida, whose office is being eyed to handle cases against the Marcoses, is open to a compromise agreement with the former first family.

"Lawyers who have been practicing for quite some time would rather have a compromise than have a litigation that would run for several decades," Calida told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"If there's a fair compromise agreement and there are no laws that are broken, we will consider that. It's better to have the cake rather than lose it," he added.

Under a bill recently passed by the House of Representatives, the Office of the Solicitor General will take over the functions of the Presidential Commission of Good Government (PCGG).

The PCGG is assigned with recovering the Marcos wealth, an estimated $10 billion (P500 billion) accumulated from the late President Ferdinand Marcos' two-decade stay in power. About a third of that amount was recovered by the agency, but over 200 cases related to the wealth are still pending against the former first family.

The proposed abolition of the PCGG has been criticized as a move that favors the Marcoses, but the government maintains it is only part of streamlining efforts.

Related: House panel approves bill abolishing PCGG

Calida has also been criticized for his suspected allegiance to the Marcoses. During the 2016 elections, he threw his support behind the late president's son Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. for the vice presidency.

However, the Solicitor-General has said he has since prioritized his post in the government. He added that he defended the House of Representatives in a suspected corruption case against Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, Bongbong's sister.

"I would like to know what is the definition of a Marcos loyalist. If it is a blind follower of Marcos, I'm not," said Calida.

"I defended the House of Representatives. I went against the Marcoses. I'm just doing my job. My client is the government, not the Marcoses," he added.

Calida declined to comment on whether or not the Marcoses should be given immunity, saying Congress would have to pass a law concerning the issue.

President Rodrigo Duterte first raised talk of a possible compromise agreement when he said the Marcoses were ready to come to a settlement.

Related: Marcoses offer settlement on family wealth - Duterte

Controversy erupted again when a lawyer was revealed to have drafted a proposed agreement and sent it to government. Duterte's spokesperson has since clarified that while Duterte would like a compromise, laws penalizing plunder prevented him from doing so.

Related: Duterte's hands are tied on compromise deal with Marcoses - Roque

Apart from allegations of corruption, the Marcos years were also racked with human rights violations. Over 75,000 people applied for compensation at the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, testifying as to how they or their relatives were abused or tortured under the regime.