Duterte allows auction of seized Marcos jewellery worth millions

A pink diamond that was seized from former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos. The Marcos jewellery collection was estimated to be worth US$19 million (S$26 million) in 2015. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A pink diamond that was seized from former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos. The Marcos jewellery collection was estimated to be worth US$19 million (S$26 million) in 2015. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MANILA • A rare 25-carat diamond and gem-studded tiaras are among millions of dollars' worth of seized Marcos jewellery that are set to be auctioned off by the Philippine government.

President Rodrigo Duterte has given the green light for the auction of three jewellery sets recovered from the family and associates of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said yesterday.

The collection - estimated to be worth US$19 million (S$26 million) when it was last appraised in 2015 - has been stored in the central bank's vaults for three decades.

"The Office of the President interposes no objections to the proposed activities relative to the disposal of the Marcos jewellery collection, subject to compliance with existing laws," Mr Medialdea said.

The auction was proposed to Mr Duterte eight months ago by a commission chasing Marcos' stolen wealth, estimated to total up to US$10 billion. Anyone, including the Marcoses, can bid for the jewellery sets, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said on Monday.

Mr Duterte has said that Marcos' daughter Imee helped fund his campaign and that he is willing to resign should the late dictator's son, Mr Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, win an electoral protest and become his vice-president.

Mr Duterte granted Marcos a hero's burial in 2016.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'Duterte allows auction of seized Marcos jewellery worth millions'. Print Edition | Subscribe