President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the public auction of the P704.8 million worth of jewelry seized from former First Lady Imelda Marcos during the People Power Revolution more than three decades ago, Malacañang said Thursday.
In a chance interview with reporters in Japan, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President already gave his nod to sell the multi-million-peso jewelry for public benefit.
“The President said last night that he has agreed that the public should benefit from the jewelry. So, I asked him, ‘Are you going to give the go-signal?’ He said, ‘Yes’,” Panelo told reporters.
“What’s important is that the sales or proceeds go to the public,” he added.
The Palace official made the remark following the proposal of the Presidential Commission on Good Government to sell one of three jewelry collections of the Marcos matriarch through a public auction.
In earlier reports, at least three jewelry collections of the outgoing Ilocos Norte representative were priced at P1 billion at a reappraisal by British auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s in February 2017.
According to the list provided by the PCGG, the Hawaii Collection, which was under the safekeeping in the vaults of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, was worth P704.8 million.
The agency also lined up for disposal the real estate properties of the Marcos family and their close associates amounting to P336.014 million and shares of stocks in various corporations worth P40.35 million.
The Commission on Audit said the public auction of Marcos’ jewelry collections requires Duterte’s approval.
Under the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ administration, the Marcos family has been known for living a lavish life with billions in reported ill-gotten wealth yet to be recovered.
Former President Corazon Aquino then created the PCGG to recover the ill-gotten wealth accumulated during the Marcos regime.
In November last year, the Sandiganbayan 5th Division found Mrs. Marcos guilty of seven counts of graft for using her Cabinet position to maintain her Swiss bank accounts during their rule of her husband.
She is out on P150,000 bail while appealing the ruling.