VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is NOT world’s richest president

A video circulating on YouTube and Facebook (FB) claims President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is the wealthiest among all the “presidents and kings in the world.” This claim is false.

The video, which shows a clip from a 2013 GMA News feature about former first lady Imelda Marcos, was first uploaded on Sept. 25. 

It claimed that the Marcos family – and therefore, Marcos, Jr. – has “trillions of dollars in gold assets” and “170 bank accounts,” including one that holds “over US$200 billion.”

Marcos Jr. has not topped any reputable global list of rich presidents, monarchs, or individuals.

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, with an estimated US$43 billion, ranked first in the South China Morning Post’s list of most affluent royals in 2021. Forbes Magazine lists Tesla CEO Elon Musk as the world’s wealthiest person in 2022, with a net worth of US$219 billion.

There is no proof to show that the Marcoses indeed own trillions of dollars in gold or that they have $200 billion in a bank account.

The Marcos family acquired around US$5 to 10 billion of ill-gotten wealth, according to the Presidential Commission on Good Government. Meanwhile, the late tycoon Enrique Zobel during a Senate inquiry in 1999 estimated that Ferdinand Marcos Sr. had a total wealth of US$100 billion, including $35 billion in gold bars.

Mrs. Marcos also claimed in the 2019 documentary The Kingmaker, without proof, that she had “money in 170 banks.” The Marcoses did use several bank accounts in Paris, Switzerland, California, New York, and the Cayman Islands to siphon money off the country.

Also, the video claimed that former U.S. President George W. Bush called the Philippines the richest country in the world. Rappler has debunked this: there was no record of Bush saying it.

YouTube channel Sa Iyong Araw (created on April 2, 2021) garnered over 658,200 views and 1,600 comments. It was reuploaded on FB by the page Duterte Info and got over 569,000 interactions. Both appeared three days after Marcos met with World Bank officials on Sept. 22. 

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)