Ka Leody-Walden Bello tandem eyes Marcos ill-gotten wealth to finance COVID-19 response

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) - The top political aspirants of progressive coalition Laban ng Masa are setting their sights on the multibillion-peso ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family to boost the budget for COVID-19 response.

Presidential and vice presidential aspirants Leodegario "Ka Leody" de Guzman and Walden Bello on Saturday bared their comprehensive electoral platform, which includes pursuing the recovery of ₱126 billion from the Marcos loot.

"Tingin natin importante na nasa plataporma, lalo na at may tumatakbo sa darating eleksyon na galing sa pamilyang ito," Raquel Castillo, national coordinator of Laban ng Masa, said during the presentation of the group's platform for the 2022 elections.

[Translation: We think it is important that it be included in the platform, especially with someone from the family running in the upcoming elections.]

"We can use this recovery of the Marcoses' stolen wealth in part to respond to the COVID pandemic, and provide all the needed ayuda (assistance), vaccines, and protection for everyone," she added.

In December 2019, the Sandiganbayan junked a ₱200-billion forfeiture case against the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his widow Imelda Marcos, his children Senator Imee Marcos, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Irene Marcos, and Constante Rubio - a close associate of the former president - for lack of sufficient evidence.

READ: Sandiganbayan junks ₱200-B ill-gotten wealth case against Marcos family

Aside from targeting money from the Marcos family, the tandem also seeks to impose a "Wealth Tax" on individuals with a net worth of over ₱100 million.

They also hope to meet domestic needs rather than producing for profits and exports, ban contractualization, abolish regional wage and provide a ₱750 minimum daily wage. All workers should also receive ₱5,000 monthly subsidies for food and health.

The group also stressed the need to impose price controls on oil, power, internet, water, and basic commodities.

They also seek to revive agriculture and manufacturing sectors and institute small farmers' control of agriculture.

De Guzman, a veteran labor leader, said billionaires are the winners with the continuous presence of contractualization and the rice tariffication law, while tens of millions of Filipinos face hardships.

Bello, meanwhile, urged Filipinos to side with "the representatives of the people."

"Pacquiao, Moreno, Lacson, and Marcos will promise the moon and the sky, and everything nice. Leody and I, in contrast, offer a tough program of real reform that cannot succeed unless most of our people rally behind to defy the rich and powerful that will lose because of it," he said.