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Duterte formalizes approval of sale of Marcos jewelry collections

President Rodrigo Duterte has formalized his approval of the sale of the ill-gotten jewelry that the government seized from graft convict Imelda Marcos, a Malacañang official said Tuesday.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the Office of the President has sent communication to the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on Duterte’s approval to the proposed auction of the jewelry collections.

"The OP has officially informed PCGG that it interposes no objections to the proposed activities relative to the disposal of the Marcos Jewelry Collections, subject to compliance w/ existing laws, rules and regulations,” Medialdea said in a message to reporters.

In September last year, the PCGG wrote Malacañang, the Department of Finance and Commission on Audit to seek their permission to auction off the three confiscated jewelry collections which the agency said could be worth more than $45 million.

The Malacañang Collection is kept in the vaults of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas along with the Roumeliotes and Hawaii collections.

The collection is composed of smaller, less expensive pieces that the Marcoses left behind when they fled during the 1986 People Power Revolution that ousted President Ferdinand Marcos.

The Hawaii collection, meanwhile, comprises jewelry found in the family's luggage when they arrived at the Honolulu International Airport on February 25, 1986.

The 60-piece Roumeliotes Collection was seized from Demetriou Roumeliotes, a Greek national, at the Manila International Airport as he was about to leave the country in March 1986.

Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Monday that the Marcoses may bid for the ill-gotten jewelry even as the Palace vowed to block any attempt from the Marcos family if they would try to prevent the public auction from pushing through.

Duterte is a political ally of the Marcoses but Panelo said the President “will continue to govern the country with public welfare and national interest foremost in his mind.”

“The Chief Executive directs that the proceeds must reach our fellow countrymen who are in urgent need of governmental aid with dispatch,” the Palace official said last Friday. — RSJ, GMA News