President Rodrigo Duterte has officially given his consent to proceed with the public auction of the P700 million worth of jewelry collection seized from former First Lady Imelda Marcos, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.
In a text message to Palace reporters, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the Office of the President has officially informed Presidential Commission on Good Governance that it is not objecting to the sale of Marcos jewelry.
“OP has officially informed PCGG that it interposes no objections to the proposed activities relative to the disposal of the Marcos jewelry collections, subject to compliance w/ existing laws, rules and regulations,” he said.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo also echoed Medialdea’s comment, adding that the agency, tasked to recover the ill-gotten wealth accumulated during the Marcos regime, should now undertake the process of auctioning the Marcos jewelries.
According to Panelo, Filipinos, especially those in need of government support, must benefit from the proceeds of the auction. “[It should] benefit the people by way of whatever projects,” he said.
Assuming that it is true that proceeds of the sale of the multi-million-peso jewelry collection, which was considered ill-gotten properties of the Marcoses, must only go to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the Palace official said Congress can always amend the law that limits the perceived beneficiaries of the proceeds.
According to the list provided by the PCGG, the jewelry collection, which included diamond-studded tiaras, bracelets, and necklaces, was seized from the Marcos family when they fled to Honolulu, Hawaii more than three decades ago. The said Hawaii Collection, which is under the safekeeping in the vaults of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, amounts to P704.8 million.
Panelo previously declared that regardless of Duterte’s political ties with the Marcos family, especially with Senator-elect Imee Marcos, the public auction will push through.
“As we have repeatedly assured the nation, the President is no respecter of friendship, political alliance, and filial relationship. The President decides on any national matter on the basis of the constitutional command to him to serve and protect the people,” he said.
Duterte will “continue to govern the country with public welfare and national interest foremost in his mind,” he added.