Imelda Marcos jewelry auction to proceed as Duterte issues formal order

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 04 2019 12:18 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has formally ordered the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to auction off jewelry collections seized from former first lady Imelda Marcos at the downfall of her late strongman husband Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. 

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed the President's order Tuesday. Malacañang has yet to release a copy of the document. 

"[The] OP (Office of the President) has officially informed PCGG that it interposes no objections to the proposed activities relative to the disposal of the Marcos Jewely Collections, subject to compliance with existing laws, rules and regulations," Medialdea said.

Duterte last week gave the go signal to auction off the jewels, saying proceeds should benefit poor Filipinos.

The 3 jewelry collections of the former first lady set to be auctioned were valued at P1 billion at a re-appraisal by auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's in February 2017. 

Christie's earlier described Marcos' jewelry collections as fit for royalty as it includes Indian diamonds, Burmese rubies and Colombian emeralds.

Among the jewels was a rare 25-carat pink diamond estimated to be worth $5 million.

Malacañang on Monday said it would block any possible move of the Marcos family to prevent the auction of the Marcos jewelry.

"If they do, then we will oppose it," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in response to a question on how the Palace planned to address a possible appeal by the Marcos family.

"Because that’s the right thing to do. We feel that as the President says, the proceeds have to go to the Filipino people who are in urgent need of government aid," he said.

The late dictator's family was known for living a lavish life during his strongman rule, with billions in ill-gotten wealth yet to be recovered 33 years since the end of his regime.

The former first lady was convicted of graft in November last year for funneling public funds to overseas bank accounts during her husband's regime. 

She is out on a P150,000 bail while appealing the ruling.