Gov’t considers selling jewelry collection of Imelda Marcos for COVID-19 funds

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Palace said Thursday it was considering selling around P700 million worth of “ill-gotten” jewelry collection seized from former first lady Imelda Marcos to augment funds for the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press briefing that auctioning a part of the Marcoses’ gem collection was already raised even before the coronavirus outbreak.

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President Rodrigo Duterte allowed a public auction for the Imelda Marcos jewelry collection worth around P700 million.

The collection, seized in Hawaii, where Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos lived in exile, includes a Cartier diamond tiara and a rare 25-carat pink diamond. The “Hawaii Collection” consists of 300 pieces of jewelry and one of the three collections of Imelda Marcos. They are currently secured at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

According to the PCGG and The Guardian, Ferdinand Marcos had an accumulated stolen wealth of US$5–10 billion during his presidency from 1965 to 1986, while earning an annual salary equivalent to US$13,500.00.

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Marcos and his wife, Imelda, were jointly credited in 1989 by Guinness World Records with the largest-ever theft from a government: an estimated 5 to 10 billion dollars. As of January 2020, Ferdinand Marcos is listed in the Guinness World Records website as holding the record for “Greatest robbery of a Government.”

Also read: Duterte to sell government assets when ‘end game’ comes

Marcoses’ ill-gotten paintings

In December 2019, the Sandiganbayan Special Division ordered the recovery of 146 expensive paintings allegedly purchased by former President Ferdinand Marcos and his family.

In a 42-page partial summary judgment issued by the anti-graft court on Thursday, it said the Marcos family illegally acquired the paintings.

The paintings cost approximately US $24 million.

According to the court, the value of the paintings was ‘significantly out of proportion’ to the salaries of the Marcos.

“RA 1379 provides that whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property manifestly out of proportion to his salary…and to his other lawful income, said a property should be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired,” the court said.

The court also ordered the Marcos family not to sell or transfer their ownership, to declare the paintings they still have, and to surrender them.

The Sandiganbayan’s decision came just days after another case was dismissed for the alleged P200 billion ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family.

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