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Sale of P704.8-M Hawaii Collection seized from Marcoses awaiting Duterte’s nod

The disposal of the P704.8-million jewelry collection seized from now-Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos only awaits the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte before it is sold via public auction, the Commission on Audit has said in its 2018 audit report on the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

The COA said the PCGG has yet to receive a reply from the request letters sent to the Office of the President, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez on the proposed sale of the jewelry collection known as the Hawaii Collection.

COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo, for his part, responded to the PCGG request, urging the agency to submit its proposed guidelines and procedures on the auction of the jewelries.

The Hawaii Collection got its name after it was seized from the family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as they fled to Hawaii in 1986 after the EDSA People Power Revolution. It is currently kept in the vault of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Undisposed assets

The collection is part of more than P1 billion worth of assets seized from the Marcoses and their cronies that have yet to be disposed by the PCGG. Other properties include real estate worth P336 million and shares of stock in various companies amounting to P40.35 million.

The COA already called the attention of the PCGG over the same issue in its 2017 audit, but the commission said most assets remain unsold since the PCGG came up with its privatization plan in 2015.

"The audit team observed that the accomplishments made per privatization plan were not sufficient enough to achieve their objective to privatize the assets under their administration as most of the activities undertaken by the agency were not implemented," the COA said.

"We noted that there were real estate properties and shares of stocks which were part of the privatization plan since 2015 and yet remain undisposed as of December 31, 2018," it added.

The COA said the PCGG only disposed one out of the 11 real properties, a 1,146-square meter lot in Baguio City sold to a certain Rey Florence Reyes in June 2016 for P20.74 million, and 157,500 shares of Showa United Food Inc. sold to Greenfield Development Corporation for P50 million in April 2016 over the last four years.

State auditors warned that the continued failure to dispose of the seized assets may harm the implementation of government's Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The COA said selling the real properties, shares of stock, and the jewelry collection were meant to cover parts of the CARP's budgetary requirement.

“The Privatization Plan for Calendar Years 2015 to 2018 for surrendered assets under the Agency’s control was not completely accomplished; thus, negating its goals and objectives to augment the budgetary requirement of the CARP,” it said.

The COA recommended to fast track the sale of the assets to ensure its continuous support of the CARP, which the PCGG agreed to follow. It also mentioned that a public auction took place last May 8 and 9 for the sale of 15 real properties and a share of stocks. — BM, GMA News