Marcos jewelry seized in 1986 Ill-gotten – Sandiganbayan
Manila, Philippines – The pieces of jewelry recovered in Malacañang shortly after the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos fled to Hawaii in 1986 were ill-gotten and should be forfeited in favor of the Philippine government.
This was declared by the Sandiganbayan yesterday in a 33-page partial summary judgment penned by Associate Justice Efren N. de la Cruz of the anti-graft court’s Special Division. The ruling was concurred in by Associate Justices Teresita Diaz-Baldos and Alex L. Quiroz.
The anti-graft court also cited the admission of the Marcoses that former First Lady Imelda Marcos own the pieces of jewelry.
“Accordingly, partial summary judgment is hereby rendered declaring the pieces of jewelry, known as the Malacañang Collection, as ill-gotten, and is hereby forfeited in favor of petitioner Republic of the Philippines,” the resolution said.
In 2009, the Philippine government filed a petition seeking for partial summary judgment on the precious items.
The Sandiganbayan found the motion for summary judgment regarding the Malacañang Collection as “proper” despite the opposition of the Marcos heirs.
The Marcoses insisted that the motion for partial summary judgment was not proper. The heirs cited that the proceedings in the case had long been terminated and executed when the Supreme Court decided with finality on the Marcoses’ Swiss deposits and forfeited them in favor of the Philippine government. The deposits, amounting to US$658,175,373.60, were in the names of so-called Marcos Foundations.
They also asserted that the government’s filing of a request for admission was incongruous with its position that the case was ripe for summary judgment.
The court said it “does not agree” with the Marcoses’ argument. It cited a resolution on Aug. 2, 2010 which ruled that its resolution on the government’s first motion for summary judgment on the pleadings pertaining to the funds of the so-called Marcos Swiss foundations “did not put finish to this case.”
The anti-graft court also added that the forfeiture of the jewelry collection in favor of the government was “justified” pursuant to section 2 of Republic Act No. 1379. The law explicitly states that “whatever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as a public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and income from legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed to have been unlawfully acquired.”
The anti-graft court cited the admission of the Marcoses that former First Lady Imelda Marcos owned the collection and that she acquired those from abroad during her and her husband’s incumbency as public officials from 1966 to 1986. The acquisition costs corresponded to the values appraised by Christie, Manson and Woods, International, Inc. auction house, which was from US$110,055 to US$153,089.
Mrs. Marcos also admitted owning the so-called “Roumeliotes Jewelry,” which was seized by the Bureau of Customs and forfeited by the court in favor of the government, and the Hawaii Jewelry, which was confiscated by the US government and turned over to the Philippine government.
At the same time, the Sandiganbayan cited that the lawful income of the Marcoses during their incumbency as public officers for the period of 1966 to 1986 was only US$304,372.43.
“Even without considering the asset and properties of the so-called Marcos Swiss foundations, and the assets and properties of Arelma in the amount of US$3,369,975.00, the value of the three sets of jewelry is already manifestly out of proportion to the lawful income of the Marcoses,” it said.
“Considering that respondents have failed to show to the satisfaction of the court that the Malacañang Collection was lawfully acquired, the prima facie presumption that the same was acquired unlawfully, stays,” the anti-graft court added.
Thus, it concluded that the Malacañang Collection should be forfeited in favor of the Philippine government.