Philippines Supreme Court upholds forfeiture of Marcos jewels

In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, Christie's auction house appraiser David Warren examines a set of jewellery from Roumeliotes Collection, one of three sets of the Marcos Jewelry Collection, during appraisal at the Central Bank of the Philippines, in Manila, Philippines. (AP)
Updated 14 February 2017

Philippines Supreme Court upholds forfeiture of Marcos jewels

MANILA: The Philippine Supreme Court has upheld a 2014 lower court order to the family of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to forfeit jewelry, describing the family’s petition to win back the gems as “utterly baseless.”
The Supreme Court found “no reversible error” in an anti-graft court’s ruling to forfeit the sets of jewels seized from the Marcoses, known as the “Malacanang collections,” when they fled into exile in 1986.
Marcos was elected in 1965 and toppled by a popular uprising in 1986.
His family, which is active in politics and remains highly influential, had failed to demonstrate the jewelry collection was lawfully acquired, the court said in a 21-page ruling.
Marcos would have earned about $304,000 during his entire 21-year tenure as president, and thus would not have had the means to acquire the jewels, the court found, according to its decision, made last month but published on Monday.
The auction house Christie’s valued the collection at $153,000 in 1991.
Two other sets of gems — the Hawaii collection and Roumeliotes collection — were also seized in 1986.
The three collections are valued at an estimated $21 million.
A government agency created to recover the Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth has estimated the former dictator, his family and cronies amassed about $10 billion. About half has been recovered.


Mali holds election despite coronavirus and insurgency

Updated 29 March 2020

Mali holds election despite coronavirus and insurgency

  • The coronavirus pandemic has posed a further threat to the vote but authorities in the West African nation have insisted it will go ahead
  • Polls opened on Sunday and turnout in the capital Bamako appeared low, a Reuters witness said

BAMAKO: Mali held its long-delayed parliamentary election on Sunday despite an insurgency in its central and northern regions, concerns about coronavirus and the recent kidnapping of the main opposition leader.

The election, originally scheduled for 2018, has been postponed twice because of intensifying violence in parts of Mali where the government struggles to suppress jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

The coronavirus pandemic has posed a further threat to the vote but authorities in the West African nation have insisted it will go ahead, promising to enforce additional hygiene measures to protect Mali's 7.6 million voters.

"The government will do everything to make sure this is the case," President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said in the run-up to the election.
Mali had confirmed 20 cases of coronavirus as of Sunday morning.

Polls opened on Sunday at 0800 and turnout in the capital Bamako appeared low, a Reuters witness said.

There was no queue at one polling station, which allowed voters to cast their ballot while keeping the recommended distance from each other. Handwashing facilities were meant to be available, but the kits arrived too late for early voters.

"I voted without a problem, but the hygiene kit against coronavirus wasn't there," said 30-year-old driver Ibrahim Konare. "The priority for the new parliament should be the fight against insecurity and the eradication of coronavirus."

It was not clear how voting was going in the large areas of central and northern Mali that are effectively lawless and used by the jihadists as a base for attacks in Mali and into neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Mali's main opposition leader Soumaila Cisse was ambushed last week while on the campaign trail in the northern region of Timbuktu. The attackers killed Cisse's bodyguard and took Cisse and six members of his delegation hostage. They have not been seen since.

The election will select 147 lawmakers for the national assembly, which has not had a mandate since 2018 because of the electoral delays.
Polling stations close at 1800 GMT with results due in the coming days. A second round is scheduled for April 19 in constituencies where no candidate wins a majority.

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