Philippine officials said Wednesday they may be getting close to recovering a huge vault of treasure believed buried near the birthplace of Imelda Marcos, widow of late president Ferdinand Marcos.
"My level of confidence in at least getting that vault is 95 percent," said David Castro, chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government. The PCGG is assigned to track down the wealth allegedly amassed by the Marcoses during their 20-year rule.Castro also said the Philippines would agree to drop a racketeering case pending in a U.S. court against Imelda Marcos if she surrendered $200 million of the money the government said she was keeping in Hong Kong banks.
Imelda Marcos has lived in exile in the United States since she and her husband were overthrown in a 1986 popular revolt. The government has accused them and their associates of stealing up to $10 billion from the Philippines.
Marcos died in Hawaii in 1989.
Castro told a press conference a team of bounty hunters under government contract had been digging for more than eight months to uncover the vault buried near a Marcos family mausoleum on Leyte island.
"We have accelerated our work," Castro said.
He said an informant who saw the vault being built and covered over tipped off the government about it.
PCGG officials said the vault could contain gold bars which Marcos was believed to have accumulated during his rule.