THE Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on Thursday called on President Benigno Aquino III to sell the famed jewelry collection of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Though he acknowledged that the decision to auction the jewelry collection is beyond his hand, PCGG Commissioner Ricardo Abcede reiterated his earlier stand that it would be better for the government to sell the jewelries.
This, rather than the jewelries being kept in the vault where they are languishing for more than two decades since the Marcos’s ouster from power in the 1986 Edsa People Power uprising.
“Nasa kanila na ang desisyon na yun but I will advise them to dispose these jewelries. These are just gathering dust in the vaults kaya mas mabuting ibenta na lang ito,” Abcede said.
Abcede’s proposal to auction Marcos's jewelries in the waning days of the Arroyo administration was heavily criticized as a “midnight” deal forcing then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cancel the move leaving it to his successor to decide on the issue.
The Marcos jewelry, divided into three collection -- Hawaii, Malacanang, and Roumeliotes -- are reportedly worth P15 billion when the PCGG appraised it several years ago.
Mrs. Marcos actually “surrendered” the Hawaii collection, which consisted of expensive jewels, to US authorities upon arrival in Honolulu after fleeing the Philippines with her husband in 1986. The Hawaii collections had a value of $23.9 million in 1986.
On the other hand, the Malacanang collection, made up of jewels left by the Marcoses in the Palace when they fled the country had a value of $4 million in 1986.
The Roumeliotes collection was seized at the airport from Demetriou Roumeliotes, a Greek national-friend of the Marcos family by the Bureau of Customs (BOC). The BOC has since retained custody over the jewelry pieces.
The Roumeliotes is the biggest chunk and the most expensive in the fabled collection. It includes a set of diamond-encrusted bracelet, earrings, and brooch. There is also a 150.01 carat ruby pendant bigger than a thumb and a 12-carat diamond. It also includes a Persian-style necklace with more than 100 carats of canary and pink diamonds, and a diamond-studded bracelet with a 31-carat marquise at its center.
Abcede also said the Aquino administration is making the right decision in privatizing assets and properties seized as part of the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth as well as their cronies despite the opposition of some sectors.
“They should privatize but they should sell wisely,” he added.
Aside from the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) and the Radio Philippines Network (RPN-9), there are other assets that can be privatized to enable the government to earn, such as the P13-billion “Payanig” property in Pasig City, which is still under litigation; Malacanang Ti Amianan (Malacanang in the North); and numerous other real estate properties and shareholdings in different corporations.
A PCGG report said it intends to privatize this year a total of P699.6 million worth of recovered assets, including the J.Y. Campos and Hans Menzi compounds in Baguio City, other real estate properties worth P507 million as well as the P92 million worth of shares in different corporations, such as mining firms Atlas, Lepanto, and Philex. (AH/Sunnex)