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PCGG restarts talks with Marcoses

- Rainier Allan Ronda -

MANILA, Philippines - The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) is restarting talks with the Marcos family on a possible compromise settlement but is planning to auction off P15 billion worth of jewelry seized from former first lady Imelda Marcos, before President Arroyo steps down in June.

“The Bureau of Customs agreed (to the auction). They just have to tell us their best time, and then we will discuss,“ Ricardo Abcede, PCGG commissioner for asset management, said.

“We want the public to know that under the Arroyo administration, the jewelry collections are intact,” he said.

Abcede said they have informed the former first lady of the plan for a compromise deal and that a negotiation may start “as soon as possible.”

Abcede, in a press briefing yesterday at the PCGG office in Mandaluyong City, said they relayed their invitation through Marcos son-in-law Gregorio “Greggy” Araneta III last April 27. Greggy is the husband of Marcos’ daughter, Irene.

“I’m reviving it again. I’m convinced that there can still be settlement,” Abcede told The STAR in a phone interview earlier.

Abcede said that now may be the best time to negotiate with the Marcos family as most of them are running in the elections. He also sees no problem with having little time left before the end of the Arroyo administration’s term.

“What’s important to me, is at least, we will start again,” Abcede said.

He argued that he would rather have the Marcoses surrender a portion of their wealth than wait to have them face “justice with reconciliation” as demanded by some sectors.

“They insist on justice with reconciliation. It only has a nice ring to it but they are asking for what is almost impossible,” Abcede said.

“I would rather have Imelda’s diamonds than slash her throat,” he said.

“The Supreme Court itself encourages settlement,” Abcede pointed out.

He said the criminal cases against the Marcoses have dragged on for years and that Mrs. Marcos is now over 70, which means she may never face imprisonment if convicted.

He also said the PCGG was keeping its hands off the sale of a diamond ring that once belonged to Mrs. Marcos by Christie’s auction house.

He said they had information that the diamond ring had already been sold by Mrs. Marcos long before the auction.

ABCEDE

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS

GOOD GOVERNMENT

GREGGY

IMELDA MARCOS

MANDALUYONG CITY

MARCOS

MARCOSES

MRS. MARCOS

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