VERA FILES FACT CHECK: FB video FALSELY claims Marcos jewels not ill-gotten


A video on Facebook (FB) erroneously claimed that three jewelry collections seized by the Philippine government from the Marcos family were “gifts” given by other countries. The Supreme Court (SC) says otherwise.

On May 29, a short video on the jewelry sets of the Marcoses appeared on FB with the title: “Regalo yun sa Pamilya Marcos kaya walang resibo (It [the jewels] was a gift to the Marcoses, that’s why there’s no receipt).”

The first half of the video showed two 2016 news reports published by GMA News that featured opinions of 2016 vice-presidential candidates on the seized Marcos jewels. President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was also running for the post then.

The latter half of the video showed several clips of the late ousted President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and his wife Imelda Marcos during a 1968 state visit to Thailand, where the couple received gifts from their host.

The High Court later came out with a ruling on one jewelry collection that declared it unlawfully acquired. Three sets were confiscated from the Marcoses – the Malacanang, Roumeliotes, and Hawaii collections.

In 2017, the SC dismissed an appeal to reverse the Sandiganbayan ruling to seize the Malacañang Collection. The High Tribunal also said the Marcoses failed to prove they came into the jewels legally, so “the prima facie presumption that they were unlawfully acquired prevails.” 

“They [the Marcoses] allege that they were denied due process by not being given any opportunity to prove their lawful acquisition of the Malacañang Collection. This allegation cannot be given credence for being utterly baseless,” the High Court added.

After the Marcos family’s exile to Hawaii in 1986, the U.S. Bureau of Customs confiscated the Hawaii Collection and turned this over to the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). Following the Marcos ouster, there was an attempt to smuggle the Roumeliotes Collection. The Customs Bureau eventually took possession of this set.

There has yet to be a High Court ruling on the manner of acquisition of two other jewelry collections. A 1991 settlement deal between Imelda Marcos and the Republic of the Philippines paved the way for the recovery of the Hawaii Collection, the PCGG said. In 1994, the Supreme Court affirmed the confiscation of the Roumeliotes Collection.

The PCGG estimates the jewelry collections to be worth almost P2 billion. President Rodrigo Duterte approved the sale of P700 million worth of jewelry back in 2019 although an auction date has yet to be announced.

The video appeared a day after a vlog, published on the official YouTube page of president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., showed Imelda Marcos proudly declaring she now had “two presidents” after the official proclamation of her son.

TikTok user rammiiitan originally published the video last February, but has since deleted this. FB page Exile Philippines (created on May 7, 2022) reposted it and has received more than 300,000 views. It has also garnered more than 8,700 reactions, 2,200 comments, and 1,500 shares.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)