PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the sale of the jewelry collection seized from former first lady and now Ilocos Norte-2nd district Rep. Imelda R. Marcos.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a media interview in Tokyo on Thursday, “Sabi ni Presidente kagabi, gusto niya na makinabang ang mga taong-bayan du’n sa mga jewelr(y). So tinanong ko siya, are you going to give your go signal to sell? Yes. Basta ang kailangan makarating sa taong-bayan ‘yung sale, ‘yung proceeds (The President said last night that he wants the people to benefit from the (sale of the) jewelr[y]. So I asked him, are you going to give your go signal to sell? Yes. For as long as the proceeds will go to the people).”

Asked when the President will issue an order on the sale of the jewelry, Mr. Panelo said: “Depende na sa kanya (it is up to him). Basta (It’s enough that) he agrees with it.”

Accompanied by at least 16 Cabinet officials, Mr. Duterte is in Japan until May 31 partly for the Nikkei 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia.

Sought for comment, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea told BusinessWorld in a phone message: “The Office of the President sees no legal impediment to the disposition of the Marcos Jewelry Collections, this being within the prerogative of the PCGG (Presidential Commission on Good Government).”

He added: “Nonetheless, considering the value and circumstances surrounding the subject items, this Office understands and appreciates why PCGG sought the President’s guidance on the matter, and for this reason we have elevated the matter to the President himself. We shall update the public on the President’s decision once he issues it.”— Arjay L. Balinbin, with reports by Alexis B. Romero of the Philippine Star