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SC affirms forfeiture of Marcos jewelry collection

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MANILA — The Supreme Court has denied the petition for certiorari of the family of former President Ferdinand Marcos seeking to reverse the decision of the Sandiganbayan ordering the forfeiture in favor of the government of the jewelry collection and also called Malacanang jewelry collection, one of three collections confiscated from former first lady Imelda Marcos in 1986.


In a 21-page decision penned by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, the SC’s First Division, affirmed that the Sandiganbayan’s decision issued on Jan. 13, 2014 and denied the petition filed by Mrs. Marcos and her daughter Irene Marcos-Araneta.


The SC said “the forfeiture was justified and that the Malacanang Collection was subject to forfeiture.”


“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 SC said.


“Petitioners failed to satisfactorily show that the properties were lawfully acquired; hence, the prima facie presumption that they were unlawfully acquired prevails,” it added.


The Court also did not give credence to the claim of the Marcoses that they were deprived of due process since there has been no trial or hearing for to be able to prove that the jewelry were legally acquired.


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


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


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.


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 Sandiganbayan in the said ruling held that the jewelry collection, which is assessed to be worth from US$110,055 to US$153,089 was part of the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth.


It noted that the legitimate income of the Marcoses had been pegged at US$304,372.43 from the period 1966-1986.

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