THE Philippine Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed an earlier Sandiganbayan ruling which orders the forfeiture of the third jewelry collection owned by former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Also known as the “Malacañang Collection,” the set is assessed be worth between $110,055 to $153,089, based on the evaluation of auction house Christie, Manson and Woods Intl., Inc. in 1991.
The high court rejected the petition for certiorari filed by Imelda and her daughter, Irene Marcos-Araneta, the 21-page decision authored by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno said. The petition sought to reverse the anti-graft court’s 2014 finding that the jewelry collection was part of the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth.
The SC said that the petitioners “failed to satisfactorily show that the properties were lawfully acquired.”
The high court also denied the Marcoses’ claim that they were deprived of due process and were not given the opportunity to prove that they acquired the jewelry legally.
“This allegation cannot be given credence for being utterly baseless,” it said.
The high court added that it has also found “no reversible error in the ruling of the Sandiganbayan” over the seized jewelry collection.
“The Sandiganbayan correctly held that the forfeiture was justified and that the Malacanang Collection was subject to forfeiture,” it said.
The “Malacañang Collection” was left behind by the family of late and former President Ferdinand Marcos at the presidential palace when they fled outside the country after the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986.
The said collection is presently kept inside vaults of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, together with the Roumeliotes and Hawaii collections, which were both seized back in 1986. Diamond-studded tiaras, a golden belt with a diamond buckle, necklaces, brooches, earrings, belts and other gems including a pink diamond are reportedly in the set, according to Japan Times.
“We reiterate what we have already stated initially in Republic v. Sandiganbayan, and subsequently in Marcos v. Republic: that ‘Whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired,’” the court said.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the current administration of President Rodrigo Duterte will respect the high court’s ruling.
“I don’t know if we’re going to selling it but we will abide by the decision that it belongs to the government,” Abella told reporters.