Confiscated Marcos jewelry now worth P1B

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 13 2016 02:01 AM

Confiscated Marcos jewelry now worth P1B 1
A Presidential Commission on Good Government official shows a pink diamond of the confiscated jewellery collection of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos during the appraisal by Sotheby's inside the Central Bank headquarters in Manila on November 27, 2015. Erik De Castro, Reuters

The latest appraised value of the Marcos jewels is at least P1 billion -- and that's a conservative estimate. 

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on Friday said it has received reports from auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's, which appraised the collection in November last year.

The Marcos jewelry collection is composed of three clusters and includes diamond-studded tiaras, necklaces, brooches, earrings, belts and other gems, as well as women's and men's wristwatches such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Cartier. 

"Some pieces were from renowned international jewelry makers such as Bulgari, Van Cleef and Arpels, and Bucellatti. Among the most notable pieces is the 25-carat pink diamond, considered to be an exceedingly rare jewel," the PCGG said.

The collection seized from the Marcoses has been stored in a vault at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for almost three decades.

Some items in the collection increased in value ten-fold from previous appraisals, the PCGG said in a statement. "Further gemological testing on significant items is necessary for a more accurate estimate."

One cluster of the collection was abandoned by the Marcoses when they fled the Palace. The Hawaii cluster, on the other hand, was seized by the US Bureau of Customs upon the Marcoses' arrival in Hawaii in 1986. The Roumeliotes cluster, significant pieces that Demetriou Roumeliotes attempted to smuggle out of the country right after the former President Ferdinand Marcos' ouster, was confiscated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the international airport.

The Privatization Council, chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF), has approved the sale of the Hawaii cluster in the international market. 

"The jewelry confiscated from the Marcoses remain a singular manifestation of the misguided priorities of the Marcos presidency during his reign," PCGG Chairman Richard Amurao said.

The PCGG plans to exhibit part of the jewelry collection prior to its international auction.

"It has been long desired by the PCGG to put the jewelry collection on public display to inform the Filipino people of the excesses of the Marcos dictatorship," Amurao said. "The collection is a critical part of the past. We believe that the exhibit of these ill-gotten jewels will be a great vehicle to raise awareness, especially for the younger generation and those who have forgotten, to remind the Filipino people of the perils of the two-decade regime of corruption that was under the Marcoses." 

The commission is also set to launch MissingArt.PH, a website to crowd-source tips on the whereabouts of more than a 100 missing artworks that the Marcoses allegedly purchased. The missing artworks include extremely valuable paintings made by Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Pierre Bonnard, and Michelangelo. - with ANC