Former Leyte Governor Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, 81, the younger brother of Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda R. Marcos, succumbed to cancer, his son, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, told GMA News Online in a telephone interview.
He passed away at Makati Medical Center Tuesday afternoon. Rep. Romualdez said his father's remains will be brought to Leyte. During the Marcos regime, Romualdez was appointed ambassador to China, Saudi Arabia and the United States while serving as Leyte governor. The Office of the Ombudsman last August filed a forefeiture case against Romualdez and his wife, Juliette Gomez-Romualdez, before the Sandiganbayan over their Swiss bank deposits amounting $5.19 million — now held in escrow at the Philippine National Bank. The case was based on a 2003 Presidential Commission on Good Government ’s (PCGG)
complaint that the younger brother of former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos only had total net worth of P2,348,495.22 in his 1983 statement of assets and liabilities. “A comparison of respondent Benjamin Romualdez’ reported net worth in 1983 of P2,348,495.22 …with the US$2,000,000.00 initial deposit in SA 7676 will show the huge disparity between his lawful income and the secret Swiss bank accounts which he opened during his incumbency as public officer," the PCGG said in its 23-page resolution.