Thursday, January 14, 2010


Allow me to revive the subject matter regarding the valises of jewelry the Marcoses left in 1986 when they fled Malacanang Palace. I remember former Palace official Chito Roque when he testified at Imelda Marcos' trial in New York saying he had gathered some diamonds in Malacanang and had turned them over to President Cory Aquino. I also remember how her spokesmen quickly issued a public statement that Mrs. Aquino had then turned over the gems to the Central Bank of the Philippines for safekeeping and that all of the Marcos gems left in Malacanang are intact at the Bangko Sentral.

However, allow me to share further what I have gathered recently while sleuthing on the matter, true or untrue:

- Only five (5) of the fourteen (14) valises of gems, foreign currency, bank books, stocks and bonds, land titles and other important documents have been accounted for. Missing is the so-called "purple valise" containing diamonds and other gems.

- Most of the gems were secretly shipped to Hong Kong where exact copies were crafted by a master jeweller. It is these fakes that are now deposited at the Bangko Sentral. The real gems are stashed in banks in Hong Kong, London, Zurich and various cities in the U.S.

- Mrs. Marcos' lawyer Gerry Spence claims that some of the Marcos jewelry were worn by certain powerful people during the Aquino presidency, where such information were furnished by disgruntled elements in the Aquino government.

True or not, this merits for a thorough re-investigation.

However again, here are solid facts on the matter as shared to me by my unimpeachable source:

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos had a vast collection of jewelry as follows:

1. The jewelry collection which the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) confiscated during the height of EDSA 1. We refer to this as the "MALACANANG COLLECTION."

2. The jewelry collection seized by the U.S. Customs from the Marcos family upon arrival in Hawaii. These were surrendered by the U.S. District Court of Hawaii to the Philippine government through the PCGG. We refer to this as the "HAWAII COLLECTION."

3. The jewelry collection seized by the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BoC) from a foreign national named Demetrious Roumeliotes at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in 1986 for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code. We refer to this as the "ROUMELIOTES COLLECTION."

To this day, the true location of the jewels remain a mystery. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) alleges that the ownership of the "HAWAII COLLECTION" and the "ROUMELIOTES COLLECTION" had been duly settled by the Sandiganbayan in a Resolution dated October 25, 1996 in Sandiganbayan Civil Case No. 0141 (SB Civil Case No. 0141).

And among the three collections, only the "MALACANANG COLLECTION" was mentioned, without an inventory or description of the same, in the Statement of Facts of the Petition for Forfeiture dated December 18,1991 in SB Civil Case No. 0141. However, it did not specifically pray for the forfeiture of the jewelry pieces.

Again, to date, the current government has failed and has never initiated any forfeiture proceedings and/or issued the mandatory sequestration or freeze order with respect thereto. It has not taken any action by which it attempted to formalize a determination of the ownership of the jewelries seized in Malacanang Palace in 1986.

In view thereof, on May 25, 2009, the lawyers of Mrs. Imelda Marcos demanded for the immediate return (to Mrs. Marcos) of all of the jewelry pieces taken by the PCGG from Malacanang Palace, including those turned over by the U.S. District Court of Hawaii.

Thereafter, the PCGG and the OSG had countered the demand by filing a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment over the "MALACANANG COLLECTION" dated June 24, 2009 in SB Civil Case No. 0141. The Motion has been submitted for resolution of the Sandiganbayan Special Division.

I won't be surprised at all if I see several of these "missing jewelry" this year being worn again by powerful ladies then and now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I was in attendance the other day for our regular Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil / Cafe Havana Group for lunch. While sitting right next to Chitang Nakpil, I found myself face to face with former Senator Santanina Rasul. And then the conversation varied from the Ampatuans to the MOA-AD and to Gimo de Vega's son being appointed as our consul to Barcelona, Spain. I asked the good senator where our country is now regarding its claim to Sabah.

Nina Rasul claims our claim must be pursued. For indeed, Sabah belongs to the Philippines and not to Malaysia. Sad to say, at the utterance of the name "Sabah," the next thing that comes to one's mind is the country of Malaysia - as in Sabah, Malaysia.

In my research, I found out that there was once a foreign-based multi-million dollar lobby working for the dropping of the country's territorial claim to oil-rich Sabah. This lobby group was said to be concentrating its efforts on the Philippine Senate after it had reportedly secured support from the Executive Department and the Lower House. Most of our senators stood pat on their stand that the Philippines should not drop its claim on Sabah. The Sabah issue has long been a source of friction between the Philippines and Malaysia. The Aquino government decided to give in to Malaysia not only to preserve good relations between the two countries but also to promote regional cooperation among ASEAN members. The Sabah lobby report is another sorry legacy of the Aquino regime.

According to some members of the Constitutional Convention which drafted the 1971 Constitution, Sabah and even Guam were included in the definition of Philippine territory. That early, they said, there already was a Sabah lobby operating. The Sabah claim would have been dropped had not former Ambassador Eduardo Quintero, then chairman of the committee on territory, botched the activities of the lobby group and included Sabah in the definition of Philippine territory.

Interest over Sabah has become more intense because of confirmed reports that its oil deposits are even larger than those of neighboring Brunei. There are close to half a million Filipinos, mostly Muslims, who have setlled in Sabah.

Malaysia entertains the justifiable fear that if hostilities break out between the two countries over territory, it will be a walk-away for the Philippines because of the presence of the large Filipino community there. This is said to be one of the reasons for Malaysia's modernization of its armed forces, notably its navy.

Brunei is said to be closely watching developments in Sabah and has instructed its envoys to Malaysia and the Philippines to keep its foreign ministries fully informed on developments.
(Image from courtesy of Ding Gagelonia)

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Once upon a time and not so long ago, Manny Villar, Gibo Teodoro and Noynoy Aquino wanted to show off to each other ...

... so they each bought a new toilet. Manny bought a wooden toilet, Gibo bought a marble toilet, and Noynoy bought a musical toilet.

The day after that, Villar came back to complain and said, "I want a refund. Every time I sit on the toilet, I get splinters in my bottom."

The next day, Teodoro came back to complain and said, "I want a refund. Every time I sit on the toilet, I slip off of it."

Still the next day, Aquino came back to complain and said, "I want a refund. Every time I sit down, I hear our national anthem and I have to stand up!"

(Image from