MANILA, Philippines - Former first lady Imelda Marcos is upset at the government's plan to exhibit and eventually dispose of the pieces of jewelry seized from the Palace during the end of the Marcos regime.
Marcos, along with supporters and family members, trooped to a church in Batac, Ilocos Norte for a mass offered in remembrance of former President Ferdinand Marcos' 95th birthday on Tuesday.
"Wala naman kami nakaw. Sila yun may nakaw, yunggobyerno at PCGG, pinag-bili ba naman yun mga buildings sa New York, apat para sa bayan yun. Ang dami na nilang pinag-bili. Tapos talaga naman yun mga special na jewelry doon, corona ng mga hari, mga historical figures at itong mga historical jewelry para sa bayan talaga yun, ilalagay ko sa museum, sa cultural center. Tama yung sinabi ni Senator Bongbong," Marcos said.
"Pero yun mga kulachang (jewelry) pagamitin naman niyo. Doon na nga lang ako sa 168 bumibili ng mga kulachang na plastic," she added, referring to the 168 Mall in Divisoria where cheap goods are sold.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) had earlier bared plans to put on public display jewels seized from the Marcos family, in hopes it will attract tourists.
The collection, worth at least eight million dollars, have sat in a bank vault for decades after being seized as part of assets allegedly plundered by the Marcos family before it fled to US exile in 1986, after 20 years in power.
The government plans to ultimately auction them off after putting them on display, said PCGG senior official Maita Gonzaga.
"They can attract tourists, (and) also (show) that there are certain lessons of the past that should not be forgotten. These are actual tangible evidence of plunder," Gonzaga earlier told AFP.
A group of human rights victims, Claimants 1081, favors the jewelry exhibit but the group wants the government to focus more on the long delayed compensation bill for victims of human rights violations during the dictatorship.
They said the immediate passage of the bill will be meaningful as the country remembers the 40th anniversary of martial law on September 21. - With Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News; Agence France-Presse