Malacañang assured the public on Monday, June 3, that it would oppose any move by the kin of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to block the sale of the jewelry trove labeled as the “Hawaiian Collection.”
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier announced that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave his go-signal to sell the Marcos jewelry and has ordered officials to ensure that the proceeds of the auction would benefit Filipinos.
Panelo then clarified that they would still push through with the auction even if the Marcos family attempts to block the said sale. When asked if the spokesman believed that the Marcoses would oppose, he said “that’s for them to respond.” He noted: “If they do, then we will oppose it.”
“Well, as far as we are concerned, these properties have been declared to be ill-gotten, that’s why precisely it is to be sold. If that was the court decision then we have to abide by it. That’s the right thing to do. We feel that, as the president says, the proceeds have to go to the Filipino people who are in urgent need of government aid,” Panelo added.
The presidential spokesperson said that the Marcos family could freely submit their offer to the auction once the public bidding commences. However, he maintained that they must pass the qualifications should there be any.
“I do not know of any law prohibiting any person from bidding, if you are qualified. Unless there are requirements for a qualification specified by the auctioneer, then you will have to pass through the qualification,” the spokesman said.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the body mandated to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family and their cronies, asked Duterte in a letter dated Sept. 7, 2018 to approve the sale of the P704.8-million Hawaii jewelry collection.
The rights group Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) expressed their doubts that the proceeds of the auction will truly benefit the public. SELDA vice chairman Danilo dela Fuente said that the beneficiaries must include victims of Martial Law.
“While the Marcos family and the Duterte government cannot deny anymore that there are billions of pesos worth of ill-gotten wealth by the Marcos dictatorship, the question now is how do we make sure that this benefits the Filipino people,” dela Fuente said.
“They come from the poor and underprivileged, from faraway provinces who do not have access to the reparation process for rights victims. They deserve to benefit from these funds. Not doing so defeats the purpose of recovering all ill-gotten wealth from the Marcoses,” he added as reported by The Philippine Star.
The group voiced out the concerns of the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime. In return, they promised to monitor the continuous recovery of Marcos ill-gotten wealth, including where the funds will go after auction.
“At present, victims cannot fully access the non-monetary assistance provided for them because of alleged non-availability of government funds. Proceeds from the sale can be directed to this, and agencies involved should make sure that this will be accessed and availed of by the victims,” Dela Fuente stressed.
“There will certainly be individuals or parties who will prey upon these billions of pesos. Who knows that with Duterte’s alliance with the Marcoses, the ill-gotten wealth recovered from the thieves will just go back to their hands?” he added.